When the Friendship Has Sailed (Fringe 2018)

A Fishy Tale

One of the best things about Fringe is the number of people it brings to one place. Most shows I’ve seen alone (sometimes quite literally), but it’s easy to chat with people when you can use the colossal theatre festival you’re attending as an icebreaker. I struck up a conversation with someone before When the Friendship Has Sailed who I got a good number of show suggestions from (thanks Greda)! But sometimes, even the most social of us can feel lonely.

When the Friendship Has Sailed follows asthmatic Carrie, who has just realised she has no friends other than her goldfish, Christina. Carrie promises herself that she is going to strive to make friends, even though her death is mere weeks away.

Getting the first laugh from an audience can be tricky, and it’s harder when you have the wrong audience. While I felt the jokes were an excellent blend of high quality and quantity, our audience barely responded with so much as a muted chuckle under their breath. I’m not sure whether this fazed the actors, as a few awkward pauses started to occur throughout, which somewhat broke the pace.

The story was surprisingly heartfelt and well-structured. A bunch of realistic, but larger-than-life characters surround Carrie as she strives in her quest to make friends. The plot is indeed the strongest element of this rather touching piece and cleverly reveals some lovely surprises along the way. The three-woman cast is exceptionally talented, helping in the excellently done multi-role performance.

I’m always wary with narrators in a story. There needs to be a clear rationale behind adding one, and sadly, Friendship’s unreliable narrator didn’t seem required when the audience had Carrie’s goldfish Christina sing suggestions on what Carrie should do next. I felt a bit cheated also with the bait-and-switch ending, waved off with a simple “because I say so”.

When the Friendship has Sailed has an excellent cast and script. Despite the need for some changes, the piece succeeds in telling Carrie’s touching and sympathetic story.

(3 / 5)

Tickets available here.