For the uninitiated, a “googlewhack” may sound like something to do on a lonely night with a high-speed Internet connection, a bottle of lube, and ample Kleenexes. In actuality, the term is geekspeak for a binomial Google search that yields only one website—that is to say, you enter two words in the input field, click the search button, and receive exactly one result. Try to find one; chances are you’ll get hooked. That’s what happened to Dave Gorman, a London-based writer who recounts his adventures in this amiable but somewhat impersonal one-man show.
Dave Gorman’s Googlewhack! Adventure (whose run has been extended through January 9) is as user-friendly as the eponymous search engine. A dexterous monologuist, Gorman narrates his globe-spanning story with abundant laddie-boy charm. The plot is simple enough: Gorman sets out to find 10 googlewhacks in a row before his 32nd birthday. The catch is that he must actually meet the people behind the websites in question and convince each to provide the next googlewhack, thereby forming a human chain that takes Gorman from London to the U.S., back to London, and as far away as Australia.
With only a slide show as visual aid, Googlewhack! Adventure is decidedly low-tech, which is fitting since the show is about re-establishing human contact in a digital age. For all his chummy theatrics, however, Gorman remains a strangely detached presence—an onstage equivalent of a bar buddy who never looks you in the eye. Jokes seem pitched at an invisible audience just over our shoulders. The effect is mildly alienating and ultimately frustrating. Exactly whom is he trying to please? Gorman’s final-minute plug for his tie-in book (on sale in the lobby for $24.95 plus tax) suggests that the lube may be close at hand after all.