Queer Acts Review: Gavin Crawford "Friend" "Like" #Me. GO SEE IT!
Posted by Wayves volunteer 16/07/2016
By Hugo Dann
"Good my lord, will you see the players well bestowed? Do you hear, let them be well used, for they are the abstract and brief chronicles of the time. After your death you were better have a bad epitaph than their ill report while you live." Hamlet. Act II, Scene II.
Gavin Crawford's reationship with the Internet's infinite variety is intnse. He loves his laptop, he iPhondles his iphone. His tweets are as gay as a box of birds on Twitter. He wallows in social media's endless possibility to divert and distract. After all, procrastination is a big part of being a writer.
But the constant pressure to engage, the niggling political correctness, the need to be on top of everything, from Brexit to Beyonce, can leave a man feeling frazzled. When he opts to take a break from BuzzFeed it feels so good, he bursts into song. Brilliantly!
Not one to shirk a challenge, he closes his computer and goes ... outside, with only his phone for protection. But the battery is low and he can't even smoke and talking to people is hard and the only thing to do is get "day drunk", which is my new favourite expression. (Thanks Gavin!!).
That is the nutshell version of Mr Crawford's journey; a nutshell he crams with infinite invention. Crawford is a fierce satirist and he skewers a host of pop cultural pet poodles. His delivery is fearsome. He can patter like the very model of a modern major general. And his satire is as sharp as a sushi knife; he's got chops!
Yet for all his bite, he never comes across as cruel. Even when he made squirm, lampooning a pompous theatre artiste (in two centuries!!) although it hit close to home, I had to laugh. No matter how savagely he rips into his targets, he's every bit as hard on himself, and his comedic neuroses are bravely on disply. He makes it safe to laugh, and that takes skill as much as talent. Through it all he remains essentially a nice gay guy from small town Alberta. By the bye, apropos of nothing (except how damn good this show is), I laughed pretty much non-stop from the opening voiceover to the final bow.
The staging is as simple as can be, my favourite format for one-person shows: bare stage, minmal props, stand and deliver! Director Kyle Tingley's work seems invisible, but these two have been creative partners for a long time, and I suspect his involvement is ttroughout.
So why the Hamlet quote? Well Shakespeare does pop up in the show, but that's not it. After seeing his satirical skills in action, I'd much rather have a bad epitaph than Mr. Crawford's ill report while I lived, but that's not it either. Really it's because Gavin Crawford, in most of his work, but especially here, is very much the abstract anfd brief chronicle of our time. Even his public self-doubt is Hamlet-like, and like Hamlet, he's very funny, very smart. and he's got something to say. He may even change how you feel about communication.
"Friend" "Like #Me is piece of fierce, funny, intelligent theatre. I heartily encourage you to see it. You'll be glad you did.
There are two more performances of "Friend" "Like" #ME: Today (Saturday, July 16) 6:00pm, and Sunday, July 17, 7:30pm.