Olga Koch strides onto the stage to Shania Twain’s Man I Feel Like A Woman with the confidence of someone who knows they are about to own the crowd for the next hour. And she absolutely does. In Just Friends, Koch delivers a note-perfect show about breakups, hoe culture and being cockblocked by Captain Tom.
Koch’s comedy has always been filthy, feminist and sex-positive, but this is definitely her best show yet. She takes us through a breakup with a ‘Disney Adult’ (on September 11th, no less) and the things she did to get over the relationship ending. She tells us about embracing ‘hoe culture’ and her desire to have a threesome but finding the perfect combination of partners is hard (no pun intended). She finally settles on the ideal solution – two bisexual men. Trying to set up the threesome involves a story that will be difficult to translate outside of the UK, but if the line ‘British Airways killed Captain Tom and now I can’t have a threesome’ doesn’t make it into the best of the Fringe, I will be sorely disappointed.
Koch’s punchlines come thick and fast as she takes us on a narrative journey to becoming friends with a younger man called Sam, who takes her to a student comedy awards show but gives off mixed signals. She can’t tell if they will be just friends or more, and during the show, an audience member gets to read out texts from Sam to hilarious effect. Koch is on fire with her comedy, and the audience is on board for 60 minutes. The romantic arc has some ups and downs that keep the crowd guessing and a surprise twist with the audience whooping with delight. Koch thinks this show may be her version of Alanis Morisette’s You Oughta Know, that bold and blistering 90s classic. But I genuinely believe that Koch’s work will only improve, and she’s nowhere near her peak.