If I Were Me

Antler’s If I Were Me is a visual treat. This bright and punchy production documents the story of Philip – an awkward, undervalued office worker who is quite often outright ignored by his colleagues. This is a surreal, funny look at a mundane life – a small fish rising to prominence in a big and scary pond – but one that didn’t quite have me hooked from start to finish.

If I Were Me is tightly performed and has moments of real potency.

Everyone has a little bit of Philip’s special brand of loser in them and for that fact alone, we sympathise with him. One scene sees Philip’s impersonator persuading him to let her finish his speech. He tries to explain that he should do it, as he is the real Philip, but she pushes him, saying she’s just finishing up and walks all over him. He is completely pathetic but utterly endearing. So, when he starts to gain confidence and people start to listen to him, we are completely behind him. But this comes at a cost: he starts to lose his identity.

Antler create some arresting and unforgettable images to make their point. The sea of larger-than-life cardboard cutouts is particularly memorable, and asks important questions about the nature of identity, particularly in the seemingly soulless world of advertising. The show is vibrant and physical, full of bright colours and energetic movement sequences. However, there doesn’t seem to be any real, solid storyline. This means the characters drift just outside my reach and my engagement with them starts to wane about 20 minutes in.

If I Were Me is tightly performed and has moments of real potency. However, as a whole it lacks substance. The point it makes isn’t coherent enough and the show needs more than excellent design to hold our attention. 

Reviews by Marni Appleton

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

It’s spring. The world is blossoming. Phillip’s potted daffodil is dying. A copywriter at an advertising agency, fading into the background of a pale office wall, he rearranges words until they work. But life isn't so easily edited. Phillip doesn't want to be Phillip. But what if he never really has been? What if Phillip is yet to become Phillip? And then there’s Person, who isn’t anybody... yet. Previous IdeasTap Underbelly Award winners Antler return to Edinburgh with If I Were Me, a playfully surreal portrayal of the performance of identity.

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