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Stories About My Weird Friends
Etcetera Theatre
18th August 2015


Lucy Corbett

Photography provided by Lucy Corbett

Lucy Corbett has definitely written a show about other people. "Friends" she swears are definitely not a euphemism for herself. Honest, guv. Stories About My Weird Friends is a collection of musings that Corbett has had on the special but strange folk in her life. Well, if you're short on ideas for what to write a show about, you can always get by with a little help from your friends. They're dead useful like that sometimes. Part-storytelling, part-comedy songs, this is 45 minutes of other people's unique quirks told with a great deal of charm and warmth by a very personable performer.

Initially Corbett shares some random one-liners about her mates' more unusual behaviour. Everything from toilet habits to inappropriate crushes, she lays bare all the gory detail. Now, we're meant to find this funny because it defies social norms, but with Corbett drawing on the experiences of all the people she knows, chances are, if you don't recognise yourself (are you sure about that?) you will spot at least one of your own mates in the writing. This leads to some awkward laughs of recognition, and means if you bring a group of your pals, it'll either be mildly embarrassing or wildly hilarious, depending on your personality.

Corbett quickly moves onto humorous anecdotes, nicknaming her companions in these stories after Henry VIII's wives and famous scientists, which gives this middle section quite a surreal feel. She also has a slight tendency to ramble in this part, with her observations gently silly rather than outright farcical. Her language is always very lyrical and poetic, and at times, the structure of her narrative is cleverer than its actual content. She's always engaging, she has a well-paced delivery, but some of these anecdotes could be tightened up a little.

I've heard plenty of comedy songs about bad relationships before - stalking people online has become quite a worryingly popular comedy staple. In and amongst all the jokes, Corbett mulls over some poignant observations on the way we cope with the end of a friendship. The death of a friendship is a far less trodden path than abusing the lack of privacy settings on a casual acquaintance's Facebook profile. Sometimes close bonds are not broken by tragedy or some kind of explosive event - people can and do just drift apart. And if you were really close once, that can be sad and difficult to deal with - there's no souvenir, no tacky momento, just an abrupt ending.

Corbett claims she has no real words of wisdom to impart. She reminds us that friendship is important, it can be more fleeting than you would expect, and to appreciate the odd people around us whilst we can. It may not exactly be a long list of guidelines for how to live your life, but actually, these are some insightful reflections. Spend some time with Corbett and take a bunch of your friends with you, too. It would be weird (and not in a good way) of you not to.

Stories About My Weird Friends opened on 17th August and runs until 19th August 2015 at the Etcetera Theatre, as part of the Camden Fringe.

Nearest tube station: Camden Town (Northern)

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