Review: Ashley with a “Y” (Ashley Botting)

Photo of Ashley Botting Photo by David LeyesToronto comedian Ashley Botting remounts her delightful musical improv Fringe show

It’s hard to articulate a show like Ashley with a “Y” playing at the Bad Dog Theatre. Musical improv that changes with every show, totally dependent on the talent and charisma of one woman and her pianist, sounds like it could be the lead up to, well, one heck of a joke.

And it pretty much lives up to its punchlines.

Ashley Botting remounts her one-woman show from the 2018 Toronto Fringe Festival wherein she turns audience suggestions for song subjects into funny, raw, melodies with the help of pianist Scott White.

All of this means that every show is something different. In less than one hour I saw a take-down of consumer entitlement, an ode to walls in nature, and–my personal favourite–a love song about being firm and fair.

For you, dear reader, all these topics will be something else. In less than an hour Botting packs in a wide variety of tunes, alongside some good old-fashioned audience heckling, and banter with White.

I think the charm is the stumbling balance that comes from Botting’s attempts to rhyme, and White’s attempts to anticipate what type of song the unexpected topics require. A purity, if you will, is central to the show: that of two people having fun in-the-moment.

In fact, outside the music, I really enjoyed the bantering between White and Botting. It was natural and sweet, leading to some of the best moments of the night.

At its weakest, I think the show takes some time to warm up, which, given the short running time, is definitely noticeable. But once it gets going, the whole thing goes by quick, clocking in at just under an hour.

For a light-hearted night Ashley with a “Y” is a good time. If I were you, I’d go and check it out.

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Photo of Ashley Botting by David Leyes

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