Blake takes us on an adventure to slay the chicken of mystery and find the golden egg of truth. Translation: we are assisting her scientific experiment to become ‘good friend’. There are some scientific phrases bandied about that give order to the show – research, analysis data, etc. – and the whole concept is a very good one. Blake is obviously a more crazy than kooky confident young lady, and this translates into stage presence (although it is rather a small stage).
One third of her humour is what I call YouTube humour for our tech savvy generation. She utilises multimedia for some of the laughs; a series of rather truthful interviews with her friends, the inevitable, inescapable Internet dating ads found whenever you’re browsing the Internet for serious research. Another third, and really the heart of this show, is audience participation (and since I had a particularly willing one, they rather stole the show that day), so you’d best be up for that. In order to become a better friend, Blake goes through a checklist of traits a good friend has and which she must exemplify. Audience interaction laughter can be awkward, but here improvisation with audience members is the most impressive element of the show and produces the biggest laughs. The final third of laughs come from the fact she pulls a lot of faces. It’s all a bit hit and miss, and all over the place. Is this a play or comedy or performance art?
There wouldn’t be this question, if it weren’t for the rather profound ending to Am I Good Friend? She reveals to us that she has been a very bad friend in the past and is essentially making up for that in this show. By sharing this with us she passes on the lesson to be good friends, although we all make mistakes. It’s an unexpected but very personal end to a rather crazy show.
Am I Good Friend? isn’t just for giggles, and the show’s creator shows she is a wise head on young shoulders, but the comedy is hit and miss. You take something away from it – well, two things actually: the second being that good friends always give good presents (and I agree, they should!).
** – 2 Stars
Am I Good Friend? Pays at The Cabaret Voltaire until 25 August as part of the Edinburgh Festival.