Adelaide Fringe 2012
Yve Blake, armed with her team of magical elves and scientific knowledge, sets out to find the truth about what makes a good friend. Even though she has a handy checklist of what apparently makes a good friend, and consults her parents, her friends, and the ‘Chicken of Mystery’, Yve eventually finds a most unexpected answer, in the most unexpected of places. Blake’s debut shows that she has talent to burn, and beneath the screwball humour lay some very sly observations.
It all begins when Yve and her friend Martha have a disagreement about the Spice Girls. After severing ties, Yve, in a moment of introspection, starts to wonder if she is a good friend. Deciding that simply being a good friend isn’t enough, and that she needs to be the epitome of a good friend, Yve and her ‘behind the scenes’ team of magical elves decide to conduct a ‘live experiment’. With a checklist of qualities friends ‘should’ have – honesty, sympathy, trustworthiness, etc. – Yve ticks them off one by one as she interacts with the audience, and surfs the Internet with the help of an overhead. The observations about Facebook ‘friends’ were wry and relevant, as were the clips of Yve’s family and friends being interviewed. Their sometimes brutally truthful, sometimes strange advice was incredibly funny.
The climax of the show is a letter that Yve wrote to a friend, detailing how she abandoned the friend (whose name is substituted with those picked by the audience) when the friend got depression. It’s a genuinely bittersweet and moving moment. But soon Yve’s sense of gleeful anarchy returns, as does Martha… who takes the form of a lisping finger puppet, hatched from the ‘Egg of Truth’ from the ‘Chicken of Mystery’.
Blake, who is only eighteen, carried the show solo with great aplomb. A master improviser, when a prop unfortunately malfunctioned she effortlessly carried on, unruffled. She swept up the audience along with the experiment, and was careful not to break out of her ‘nutty professor’ character. Her sense of humour and visual style is quirky and energetic, and is reminiscent of the popular blog Hyperbole and a Half. The only thing that could have possibly made the show better would be a microphone, as Yve often had to speak loudly or shout to be heard.
The truth, Yve learned, is that there is no epitome of a good friend. You can never truly know what others think of you. You simply have to be the best person that you can be. It’s clear that Blake is at her best when she’s mixing the absurd with the astute, and if this comedy is anything to go by, Yve Blake could very well be the next big thing.