Best friends swiftly become strangers

By | February 10, 2016

The West Australian

THEATRE 
Super Awesome Best Friends Forever 
2.5 stars 
The Hidden Bar 
REVIEW: Julianne de Souza

On Friday night I played pass the parcel, sang along to Hanson’s lesser-known hits, and then joined hands with a circle of strangers while we swayed to MMMBop in a bar in the middle of Northbridge. I have Super Awesome Best Friends Forever to thank for this.

Super Awesome Best Friends Forever saw Northbridge’s The Hidden Bar transform into a pre-teen’s bedroom; Hanson posters plastered the walls and Maddy, our overzealous protagonist portrayed by Madeleine Lewis, reclined on a couch, belting out one 90s hit after the other as the audience filtered in. Rows of chairs positioned in front of the set were bypassed for more intimate spots in the midst of this boy band shrine.

 

 

Despite being marketed as an exploration of how the immediacy and pervasiveness of social media impacts our “real world” relationships, Super Awesome Best Friends Forever was more of a reminiscence of the various friendships that Maddy has experienced, from her first love (Taylor Hanson, of course), to the abrupt end of her bond with her best friend after being revolted by the way she used her fingernails as an ice-cream scoop.

Despite being somewhat funny and entertaining, Lewis’ routine gradually became repetitive and rather predictable. Furthermore, Maddy’s characterisation as a bubbly, overenthusiastic girl with extensive knowledge of Hanson’s discography occasionally jarred with her monologue, which was dotted with swear words and talk of getting drunk on gin and tonics. Another unfortunate detractor was the continuous noise from The Hidden Bar’s outdoor area, which impeded upon the performance and prevented it from ever feeling truly private and intimate.

The highlights were moments where Lewis touched on the way that best friends can swiftly become strangers. Her reflection upon how it’s often significantly easier to connect with fictional characters than with real humans undoubtedly struck a chord with the audience. Furthermore, the audience remained engaged and at ease thanks to timeless sleepover games such as truth or dare and pass the parcel, since, as she noted, it would be pretty weird if we all came into her bedroom just to watch her perform a monologue.

Super Awesome Best Friends Forever was a fun way to spend 45 minutes, however the one-woman show’s poignant themes and energetic protagonist were let down by repetitive jokes and a fairly shallow exploration of what it means to be a teenager.