James Ryan Gobuty
Add Friend is one of the short performances playing in the gallery spaces over the weekends at Hamilton Fringe. The show, created by Andrew Cromwell and Andrew Gaboury, explores the complexities that social media adds to our sense of self, and our ability to connect with others.
This technology-assisted one man show has a lot going for it, its handsome and charming star in particular, but perhaps takes on too many things at once to keep it cohesive. First, we’re all connected with red string. Then, there is a video interview with the audience, a conversation with a laptop, the involvement of footlights and some physical theatre with shadow work. There’s a lot jammed in there, and alas, it becomes a bit self-defeating. It pains me to say too, because each individual aspect of the performance was very good; Andrew is an excellent performer who is clearly very well trained, but the parts come together erratically and seemingly without purpose.
One might say that indeed this sort of fragmentation is exactly what the show is aiming towards; that the performance brings to life on stage the disjointed mentality of social media—almost like a blog performed. If that is indeed the case, then the show comes off more as a blog for actors by actors, more like a catalogue of acting chops than a presentation of the issues of life online. None of this is to say that the show is bad; it’s a cute pick-me-up in the middle of a day of theatre. The show just just lacks the substantial content to be a powerful commentary on its subject, but is nevertheless worth seeing if you want to see young talented performers do what they do best.
Add Friend is playing at Gallery venue #3: Hamilton Artists Inc. Friday July 25 at 7:15pm, Saturday July 26 at 9:15pm, and Sunday July 27 at 2:15pm and 8:15pm. Tickets can be purchased online at hamiltonfringe.ca or at the venue.