REVIEW: IF I WERE ME (Soho Theatre)
‘If I Were Me’ is a story of identity, devised by award-winning theatre company, Antler. A combination of surreal moments and relatable scenes, I wasn’t quite sure what I felt about this production.
The play follows Phillip, a shy copywriter at a bustling advertising agency, who never gets noticed by the girl he likes and is ignored by his colleagues. I quite enjoyed Phillip’s character at the start; I felt he was loveably awkward and Nasi Voutsas played him very naturally. But as things progressed, I became less sure of how his character was meant to be developing.
Along with his colleagues, Phillip is invited to a conference where he is pulled up onstage during one of the talks. At this point, Phillip gets stage fright and the play becomes more surreal. Ultimately Phillip begins to have some sort of identity crisis, where Person offers to be him for a while and he goes off to find out who he really is.
It’s not fully clear, however, exactly who or what Person is meant to be. Is she the depiction of an internal struggle? Or something more? I felt the overall plot was either under-developed or unclear. Phillip seems to go on a journey of self-discovery where he blossoms into a confident and successful man, but then he seems to revert to his old self and it’s not clear why.
There were also a lot of surreal moments with music and cardboard cut-outs of Phillip, as well as some interesting choreography with tennis rackets! Some of these scenes dragged on for me – particularly as they seemed to just throw up more unexplained moments. On the other hand though, most of what did happen was very comical and entertaining – so despite my many unanswered questions, I still enjoyed a lot of what I was experiencing.
A special mention should go to some of the fantastic characters in this show. Daniel Foxsmith as both conference speaker and office colleague was exceptionally funny and engaging; and Daniela Pasquini as the energetic Paola had fantastic expressions and movement – and absolutely cracked me up!
I’m not sure exactly what I was meant to take away from this show or how identity was being explored, which was a shame, but I still enjoyed a lot about it and would certainly want to see another production by Antler in the future.
Reviewed by Rachel Callaghan @WIAAProductions
Photo: Richard Davenport
If I Were We plays at the Soho Theatre until Saturday 26 March 2016