A range of emotions swirl in the auditorium as Melissa Booth shares her thoughts on being a bride, and whether her childhood dreams would come true. Something Borrowed is both a funny and an honest show, which explores Booth’s own desires for the special day and what it will be like spending life with her future husband.
Mostly, in our society, a wedding is stereotyped as the woman’s time – an opportunity to flaunt her dress, and live as part of a fairytale. Booth talks about her own expectations (and the ways she relates to Baby in Dirty Dancing), but she also opens up a different perspective, by sharing her partner’s ideas of what a wedding means. Nothing feels biased, and Booth’s honesty towards her own experiences make the performance surprisingly moving. It was especially hard-hitting when she spoke about family expectations; the pressures placed on women were made all too real, and I felt almost as if I was delving into Booth’s private diary as she shared her emotions with the audience.
One the day I attended, the audience was significantly made up of brides-to-be, who clearly identified plenty of points of reference and often chuckled in agreement at Booth’s comments. And although I personally can’t relate to the anxieties of marriage, she shone a light on aspects of feminism and relationships which I couldn’t help but sympathise with. The piece is much more than just a conversation about wedding planning.
Booth makes strong points in her opposition to patriarchal values, and her fight for the things she wanted on her own wedding day. A comparison between her own love story and a series of typical rom-coms made her arguments all the more genuine, as scenes were projected on a screen behind her.
At certain points in the performance, however, the change between a touching topic and something unrelated seemed too quick to me. Whilst a majority of the issues addressed were met with comedy, there were passages which I found far more emotional, and I would have preferred more of a flowing transition between the two.
But this was an enjoyable performance overall, and Melissa Booth offers a refreshing viewpoint on weddings: the harsh truth behind unrealistic expectations, family, and the lack of interracial wedding toppers. Pacing was the only real issue – but Booth still manages to keep the audience engaged and the energy high in her touching solo show.