Review of My Best Friend By Tamsin Oglesby
My Best Friend recently returned to a 2 week stint in the New Theatre, having completed a very successful run there in 2010. It’s about 3 school friends, in their early 30s, who are re-united in a French farmhouse.
The play starts off by drawing you into a friendly, convivial atmosphere, as 2 friends put their lives in perspective, in the way any 2 holidaying friends might. The tension begins innocuously, as Bee and Emma attempt to give up cigarettes and alcohol.
It’s the introduction of Chris that marks the beginning of the trouble. The performances here are rock solid. They are high energy, intense, and utterly convincing. Ogles uses a flashback device to draws the audience in to a teenage world of betrayal, bullying and jealousy.
The dominant theme concerns the validity of memory: Ogles sows the seeds of confusion as to the legitimacy of the character’s memories and the 3 women become locked in a battle to convince the audience as to whose memories are accurate.
The audience was extremely responsive on the night I attended. There was plenty of barrel laughing, the odd gulp or sigh as the plot thickened.
The intimate setting of the New Theatre tends to have that effect on audiences.
The universality of the play’s pre-occupations make it a very effective and stirring piece of work.
Ogles lay bare the petty jealousies, the secrets and the tensions that are present in close friendships. The fast paced script demands close attention of the audience. But while the dialogue brings you on, it is the performances that hold your attention.
It is impossible to take your eyes off Chris, as her destructive personality unties the friendship between Bee and Emma. She literally detonates on stage, and threatens to leave a path of utter destruction in her wake.
The finale exposes how friendship can be sustained, despite lies, cover-ups and double standards on the part of those involved.
It was 90 minutes very well spent: This is a little triumph of a play.
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