On my way to the show with my best friend, I kept envisioning a Tim Burton-esque stage and expected a papier-mâché ghoul to float down from the ceiling every now and then.
I was incredibly wrong. Upon arrival, the stage looked nothing like I had imagined it to be. The playwright and incredibly talented actress, Anya Tate-Manning was centre stage with nothing but a big black board behind her. The entire setting was very modest. I was sceptical that the play would be entertaining. I was wrong, again.
The magic begins when Anya starts to draw. She teleports you to a 1980s Dunedin with chalk. The drawings themselves are elementary. However, it’s the story that is paired with the drawings that take you away from your seat. Anya whisks the audience away to the past. She introduces them to her friends who can all be distinguished by Backstreet Boy personas, her youth, and her undying love for the best ever band to grace the earth, The Backstreet Boys.
My Best Dead Friend is a play filled with unpredictability. It takes you between Anya’s worlds of the past and the present. As Anya transitions from some of the best moments with her friends. From painting the town red (or in her case, poetry) to the moment she realised she lost her best friend. She perfectly encapsulates the definition of bittersweet.
Amongst all of this, is plenty of honest humour, that will leave you in stitches, and later on, encourage you to think.
I was left speechless at the impact such a simple but beautiful play had on myself. By the end of the night, I was left holding onto my best friend – a little too tightly for her comfort.
The play will be running ’til the 22nd of July so make sure you get your tickets here ASAP.