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Festival Review: My Best Dead Friend ***

Michael Cox reviews 'a pleasant hour of laughter and tears'.

Sometimes the success of a story is not in the plot details but in the telling. Case in point: My Best Dead Friend. Anya Tate-Manning spends an hour talking about her circle of friends, focusing on the summer after they finished high school while intersplicing an event ten years later that took the life of one of the gang.

Tate-Manning’s story is conventional stuff: eager young people on self-discovery quests and dealing with grief when a loved one unexpectedly dies. What isn’t conventional is how she tells her story—Tate-Manning is an excellent performer who knows how to effectively spin a yarn, and her use of chalk drawings to literally illustrate the setting makes for moving moments.

All of this results in a pleasant hour of laughter and tears. The stories themselves may not be unique, but Anya Tate-Manning certainly is.

My Best Dead Friend performs at Summerhall until August 25(not 12, 19) at 1715.

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