Tag: pathos

REVIEW: Yve Blake in AM I GOOD FRIEND?

A truly delightful performer and a wonderful show

By Bradley Storer

Am I Good Friend? is a show which mines, with hilarious results, the gap between our perception and the reality of how we relate to other people. Compiling graphs, pie charts of ambiguous flavour and anecdotal evidence on how to be a good friend, performer Yve Blake embarks on a pseudo-scientific and fantastical quest for what she calls the ‘golden egg of truth’.

Yve Blake

Greeted at the entrance of The Butterfly Club by Blake’s ‘stage manager’, who hands out iced Vovos whilst dressed in a stylish garbage-bag garment, we are handed small cards and invited to answer a personal question or two to aid Blake’s ‘research’. One quick costume change later and Blake herself appears in a make-shift lab coat and begins to ingratiate herself with the audience.

Over the next hour we are taken on a journey through Blake’s history of spotty behaviour as a friend, relayed through multimedia presentations, lip-synched re-enactments of embarrassing conversations and Skype-d testimonials from her closest friends. Given Blake’s sunny and adorable stage presence, this is actually almost too hard to believe!

Blake is a hurricane of delightful comic energy, bouncing off the walls with bright eyes and a wide sincere smile. Along with her goofy and enthusiastic nature, she is also unafraid to shamelessly plug her awkwardness and short-comings for laughs – her comedic commitment to her own humiliation is hysterically funny. Although her approach to her material is high-octane the show never seems rushed or garbled, her remarkable diction worthy of note considering the speed at which she speaks! Blake has a fantastic gift for interacting with and including her audience, finding many clever (and at one point, truly touching) ways to bring audience members into the show.

The hour-long show flies past, and the conclusion is a communal acknowledgement of all our faults and mistakes as friends to others, Blake ultimately managing to find both pathos and humour in the universal experience of loneliness and being an outsider. Ultimately this is an outstanding show which, much like Blake herself, hides a surprising depth beneath its sunny exterior.

Venue: The Butterfly Club, 204 Bank St, South Melbourne VIC

Date: Tues 18th to Sunday 23rd Dec

Time: Tues, Weds and Sun at 8pm – Thurs, Fri, Sat at 9pm

Tickets: $23 / $20 Conc / $18 Group (8+) / $15 Tues

Online: www.thebutterflyclub.com

Phone: 9690 2000

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Review: MTC’s Boy Girl Wall

A theatre experience that is innovative, intriguing and highly engaging

By Christine Moffat

“Side by side in a leafy suburb, Thom lives in one flat, Alethea in another. It’s pretty clear that their respective unsatisfying lives would improve enormously if they just met each other. But with literally a wall between them, this seems highly improbable.”

This is the scant information ‘about the play’ that the programme divulges; a tantalising three sentences that give you no idea of the dynamic and entertaining 90 minutes you are about to embark on.

Boy Girl Wall is a story about life and love, not just those of the two protagonists, but also of the people, and especially the seemingly inanimate objects, around them.

It is not a story I can set out in this review without removing the magic of discovery as you watch the story unfold.  Suffice then to say, this show is an unorthodox, amusing, entertaining ‘trampoline-like’ experience.

Upon entering the theatre and being seated, you are presented with a set by Jonathon Oxlade that resembles a giant fold-up ping-pong table.  A woman sits to one side of the stage waiting.  This turns out to be Neridah Waters, musical designer and musician and understated partner-in-crime to Lucas Stibbard, the hilarious one-man-band-of-a-performer who delivers Boy Girl Wall.

The implied ping-pong effect is not diminished once the show is underway.  Stibbard appears to be made of energy, delivering an hour and a half of entertaining, intelligent, rapid-fire dialogue (and at least 25 personalities!) and story-telling in a way that makes you feel that the time flew by.

This show is a perfect example of minimalism at its best, where less truly is more.  The production has not much more than a cast of one, a musician, that table-tennis like set (much of which is ‘dressed’ in real time with a stick of chalk), a xylophone and a ruler.

The lighting design by Keith Clark apparently consisted simply of two large retro light globes and an old school overhead projector: all of which are used to great effect for comedy but also, surprisingly for lovely moments of pathos as well.

The ingredients for Boy Girl Wall may not sound like much of a theatrical shopping list, but with these few items this production delivers an evening of surprise, laughter, love and an unexpected dash of optimism for good measure.

Venue: The MTC Theatre, Lawler Studio

Season Dates: 17 April to 4 May 2012

Tickets: From $40; Under 30s just $25

Booking Details: The MTC Theatre Box Office 03 8688 0800 or www.mtc.com.au