Review: When the Friendship has Sailed by Weird Sisters Theatre

The loneliness epidemic is explored, but no closer to being solved, in this tongue-in-cheek play.

theatre review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 06 Aug 2018
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when the friendship has sailed

Loneliness is the modern epidemic, explored with tongue-in-cheek charm in Jessica Palfrey's When the Friendship Has Sailed. Carrie (Natalie Ann Jamieson) is a familiar figure: in her late twenties, far from home and untouched by the life events her friends have ticked off their lists. It's a terrifying conundrum: how do you make and maintain friends as an adult? Does this sweet play solve this problem? Not really, though it does provide a temporary balm.

Jamieson plays Carrie with down-to-earth warmth and a nervous energy. Her uncertain chemistry with co-worker Serena (Palfrey) starts out realistically rocky, so it's a quiet joy to watch their relationship escalate: by its end point, the friendship feels like it's been earned.

What's not so down-to-earth is Carrie's goldfish. Christina's inner monologue is rendered glamorously by this fishy protagonist and set to music by Louis Peake. It's a fantastically surreal first appearance when Elizabeth Edmonds sashays into the spotlight, but by her third and final song the gag is getting tired. Peake's lyrics aren't particularly memorable – perfect for a goldfish's short attention span but not exactly gripping for the show's human audience.

Director Edwina Strobl keeps Palfrey's script fast paced and dynamic, though the overall effect is nearer to a series of vignettes than a play with a strong through-line. Carrie's asthma serves as a connecting thread rather than a backbone, but the real clincher is that the status quo remains largely unchallenged. Serena's departure and her Nana's fragility prove that even Carrie's strongest relationships are only temporary. Loneliness is hard to shake.