Nearly 20 minutes into her one-woman show about the panics and perils of getting married, Amanda Thompson relates the shady history of the wedding veil. It’s a funny but pitiful accusation against ancient fathers who, while stuck with one plain daughter amid a brood of beauties, would switch the engaged girl for the ugly one, using the veil to disguise the deceit before the ceremony.
Thompson, who has split her show into two halves — one prior to the wedding, the other a year after — laces her time onstage with a series of anecdotes, most of them personal. With the sole exception of the history lesson mentioned above, they all avoid pathos and go straight for the chuckle. And most of the time she gets what she goes for.
Some stories fare better than others. Thompson has moments of keen observation, and her comparison of the rabid female customers at a discount bridal outlet to a variety of dogs is a virtual howl. But while she has an appealing way of telling a tale and looks fine in her wedding attire, Thompson rarely moves her subject beyond the petulant and superficial. And that is what saddened me most about this show: It really isn't about marriage at all, but a litany of one’s annoyances rather than relationships. It is a show about one person, not two.
Solo endeavors of this sort work best when the lone performer is willing to move beyond herself, either by impersonating a host of other characters, such as Sarah Jones’ Bridge and Tunnel, or by placing her focus and sympathies on the trials of another, as in the current Broadway show The Year of Magical Thinking, which features Vanessa Redgrave in a script by Joan Didion.
In Thompson’s piece, her husband is rarely referred to — his name is mentioned no more than once or twice — while an entire sitcom-style showdown with the mother in-law at a supermarket is related in knee-slapping detail. There were plenty in the audience who found this "High Noon at the Kroger corral" episode to be hilarious. But I felt that deeper and more humorous opportunities were missed — stories about discovering the real person that you have just united your life with, about how you change or decide not to, about how you start to build a present and a future together.
Publicity for I Do … I Think says Thompson was struck by the realization that newlyweds spend so much time, effort and money preparing for the wedding and then find themselves unprepared for the marriage. There is a lot in that statement, and not much — if any — of it is actually in the show. Of course, it’s her material, and she has the right to play it however she wants.
Still, I felt like one of those disappointed grooms who raise the veil only to find that the girl he wanted is gone. Grade: C+
— Nicholas Korn