Words by Katie Hagan.
Friendships are funny. You can be the best of friends with one person but heaven forbid if you’re ever put in a social situation where you’re stuck with their friend. In theory they’re a friend of a friend and you should also like them. Why wouldn’t you? But, as we’re human beings and like to make life unnecessarily difficult for ourselves, this is never the case. The thought of being in this awkardest of awkward situations makes you feel queasy and jittery. If you’d known, you’d probably have stayed at home watching Buffy.
Although I’ve never had the displeasure of being in this situation (okay, maybe I have), unfortunately it’s the grim reality of poor 20-something-year-old Charlie (Corrie McKenzie), half of the duo that makes up the cast of Sam Burkett’s You’re Alright performed at Camden People’s Theatre.
You’re Alright is about a friendship triangle on a night out. Charlie is friends with Andy. Whilst waiting for Andy, Charlie is joined by Andy’s boyfriend Sascha who self-identifies as a multi-hyphenate and is slightly passive aggressive towards Charlie. This passive-aggressiveness threads the opening section together and is really where the audience feels Charlie’s palpable frustration. On the face of it, Sascha is actually a nice enough person who ‘leans into’ a lot of things, although a bit pretentiously. He loves his Kenyan roast – that’s a cup of coffee to you and me.
So Sascha and Charlie are waiting for Andy to turn up for the ‘fun’ to begin. However, it soon transpires that Charlie and Sascha are hanging around for Andy like Didi and Gogo waiting for Godot. The omnipresent Andy never shows, leaving Charlie and Sascha stranded on a desert of desperation forced to begin the night by themselves.
What follows is a time-warpy adventure where Sascha takes Charlie (much to their chagrin) to a kitschy performance art show in Berlin, presenting an adaptation of ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’, and countless bar crawls including a failed expedition to an astrology bar.
All in all, the night is quite tragic. Yet, caught in the tragicness, you can see that’s where Charlie and Sascha start to bond. Growing closer in dire circumstances, they bond further over Andy’s silly icks until they reach the point where Charlie realises she’s probably been a bit of an overly judgemental dickhead, turning to Sascha to say actually, you’re alright.
You’re Alright is a quippy, fun and ironic journey into the twists and turns of friendships. There are some gleaming, memeable lines delivered and written by Sam, a comic, that give a big nod to queer culture. Apparently according to Sascha, ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’ represents “desire for Mother” and in the opening section, Sascha pre-orders the delayed Andy an iced latte because “well, he’s gay”.
Like all good physical theatre, movement is brought into the play to move the story along; unravelling some of the subliminal messages in the text and dousing You’re Alright with some belly-laugh humour. This is a fun one to see with your mates. But maybe leave the mutuals at home.