Nothing Broken is an autobiographical one-woman show written and performed by Amanda Haddock, directed by Cathy Reinking. It tells the story of Hope, who is grappling with the end of her ten year marriage. She jumps back and forth through time and scattered memories, feelings, and revelations, giving the audience raw insight into a mind that is struggling to put the pieces back together.
Haddock comes out strong and bitingly funny. She banters with the audience effortlessly and gets people laughing hard and often. There is no tech to speak of, and the set is simply Haddock’s co-star, a Coleman 62 Qt. Cooler. As Haddock launches into what would be a pretty stellar standup routine about product reviews, she suddenly transitions to the topic of her divorce, and so begins a roller coaster ride of emotion, with Haddock singing, laughing, yelling, crying, and flailing to tell her story.
These reviews can be the toughest to write, because at the end of the day, Haddock is an intensely likeable person who is bravely telling a deeply personal story. Songwriter Morgan Harper Nichols says, “Tell the story of the mountain you climbed. Your words could become a page in someone else’s survival guide.” Haddock is taking this to heart, and I genuinely applaud her, as did the audience.
But. This show needs a lot of work. I can’t tell if this script was an attempt to portray how disjointed our thoughts and feelings are after a significant loss, or if there was just little thought put into the story arc. Either way, it’s too disjointed to tell a consistently compelling story. The pieces are there, but I would encourage Haddock to find an outside pair of eyes and go back to the drawing board. While Haddock’s comic timing is spot on, the transitions and serious moments need more focus and purpose. As for this run, I would encourage Haddock and Reinking to reconsider some blocking to avoid Haddock staying in the audience too long, because she often blocked out significant portions of the audience.
Again, I applaud Haddock’s bravery and I encourage the team to work to evolve this show. If you have time and are in the area, it’s worth a look as I can at least guarantee that you will laugh and be inspired by Haddock’s fearlessness. However, Nothing Broken is just not going to be the best thing you see at Fringe this year.
Running Time: 60 minutes, with no intermission.