Life Is Too Good To Be True

An exploration of modern society and our responses to it, Life Is Too Good To Be True is a one-man show presented by the Netherlands’ Het Geluid (The Noise). The story follows a disgruntled journalist in his attempt to find a meaningful voice within society; sick of the crushing monotony of daily existence, he shifts his identity to take on that of a Lady Gaga tribute - triumphant in pure show.

This piece oozes wackiness. Featuring streamers, wigs, balloons, a megaphone, and many, many newspaper strips, it is often manic and confusing to follow. Het Geluid specialises in an aesthetic that combines various performance disciplines to explore struggles against ‘the noise’ of modern life, but the irony of this show is that its meaningful message becomes lost in the hectic noise of the climax. In becoming what he wanted to be, the character did nothing more than merge with manufactured modern pop culture. The publicity asks ‘what is role of truth in contemporary culture?’ but I am not sure that question was answered.

None of this stops Life Is Too Good To Be True from being an interesting and unique experience. The audience are brought into a circle of chairs, sitting with the performer. Once the act begins, it becomes immediately clear that we are in a group therapy session, that perfectly plays on the estimated size of the audience and turns us into active participants. We become co-conspirators in the falsehoods that our guide spins, evoking distinctly personal responses.

Gable Roelofsen, the performer and writer, does a very good job of acting through the restraints that group therapy presents to creative blocking. His character is well defined and compelling, but this strength wanes as the show progresses. As he gradually turns into his female projection, there is little in the way of change that does not involve props and costume. The verbose performance suffers from rhythm lock too, making sections feel samey. The concept is clever, but the quality of the show does not quite match up to this.

Since you’re here…

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The Blurb

What is the role of truth in contemporary (pop) culture? An energetic journey through the lies we tell ourselves - Stephen Glass, group therapy, Lady Gaga, and cinematic nightmares. Best of Amsterdam Fringe 2010.

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