FRINGE 2019: Why you need to see… Brodi Snook
Who: Brodi Snook
"I'm not yet ruling out a second date because his shoes are nice and my self-esteem is low..."
The title of Brodi Snook's Edinburgh debut derives from the time a first date once told her she was a bit of a 'handful'. It's the jumping off point for exploring her misadventures in love and dating, in which inadequate men have an inordinate amount of privilege and conceit, whilst she herself struggles with low self-esteem and the constant double-guessing of her own behaviour.
Very early on, a pattern is established - both in terms of Snook's shit luck with men and the rhythm of the show. Snook is a slick, cock-sure performer who exhibits an easy charm and blithe on-stage charisma. Each anecdote is regaled with the confidence of someone far older and more experienced. The gags are on-point and plenty, with nearly every second sentence being a payoff punchline.
Then everything changes. Half way through the performance, the wise-cracking schtick and nonchalant persona give way to troubling bombshell: for the last eleven months, Snook has been embroiled in an incredibly troubling harassment case. To make matters even worse, her tormentor is a much older and extremely high-profile figure in the world of comedy.
Suddenly the show is elevated to another level. The anecdotes become less flippant as we realise the extent of the emotional manipulation and psychological warfare that Snook has had to endure from someone she had previously respected - someone who was meant to be one of the 'good guys'. "Here's the thing about self-proclaimed feminist men: they don't like it when you don't reward them by fucking them," she explains emphatically.
It is a real eye-opener for how sadistically and pathetically men can behave when they don't get what they want - perhaps not so much for women in the audience but definitely for the male contingent. When such vile behaviour is put in the context of the murder of young Australian comic Eurydice Dixon, you realise how high the stakes are, and how fatally toxic such behaviour can become if it goes unchecked and unchallenged.
It all sounds very dark, and in a lot of ways it is. By the same token, this is resolutely a comedy show, and Snook is never not funny. Her knowing brand of deadpan humour is apparent throughout and she uses a clever device to break into winning one-liners when the mood gets too heavy. She has a lovely way with words, as she laments of a previous boyfriend's gym vanity: "Yeah, every day's leg day when you're running from who you really are..."
Snook apologises that her show doesn't have a neat Edinburgh-style ending. Her harassment case is still ongoing, and so she can't provide a definitive resolution. But in many ways the perfect ending is right there on stage: Snook delivers a witty, acerbic gut-punch of a debut show that is both hilarious and absolutely vital at the same time. If you're a woman, go and see it. If you're a man, *definitely* go and see it. This is a reclaiming the word 'handful' and then some.
You can buy tickets for Handful here.