This is a good premise for a comedy show: ask members of the public to email in stories of lies they've told, and turn these tales into musical comedy. Add in some wacky props, multimedia, surreal costumes and glittery signage, and you've got Lie Collector.
Watching a good deal of solo stand-up comedy can become a bland visual experience, so I relished the opportunity to look at so much colour, variety and detail. Indeed, this is very visual comedy; it relies every bit as much on the array of what is seen, as what is heard. Blake dances vigorously, sings beautifully and belts powerfully.
One of Yve Blake's first numbers centres around Facebook and social media, and she performs it dressed as a massive shiny rainbow, with an accompanying illustrative video playing along on the screen behind her. This show is tech-heavy; Blake uses backing tracks of music, voice-overs, dialogue and projections - much of which is managed from her Macbook onstage. It's appropriate that the internet and technology be such a focal point for a piece which found its roots in a website. The timing and fluidity is good, and she manages to engage us during moments of costume changes, avoiding a sense of filling.
Blake is an in-your-face kind of performer, regularly coming within touching distance of the front row. There is audience participation, but it's gentle - we are involved with things like props (a cute moment of helicoptering sharks on string around the auditorium to add atmosphere to one of the numbers) and asked questions which we are never required to answer (her preprepared and perfectly timed voiceover tracks do the job for us).
But, while overall I did enjoy watching it, I think Lie Collector would benefit from a subtler approach in many places. I recognise that this kind of over the top, 'big' performance can be highly effective and funny - but for me, here, it was overkill. Likewise, the odd full-volume throaty bit of yelling can be welcome, but again I found it to be a little too frequent.
Lie Collector is nevertheless very entertaining, and has thought-provoking elements. Toward the end, in a stark change of direction, Blake pairs things right back. She reflects on some of the darker and more profound stories of the lies and consequences of those lies she has received. And in that material, I think there lies ample potential for a further - very different - show.