Dark truths and slick lies
By Myron My
Directed by Jason Langley, Here Lies Henry by Daniel MacIvor is the second show to open at Theatreworks during Melbourne’s Midsumma festival. In Here Lies Henry we are treated to a one-man play where we meet the remarkable Henry, and Henry has something to tell us that we don’t already know.
A single spotlight shines down on the stage as Henry (Matthew Hyde) awkwardly enters and breaks the fourth wall: speaking directly to us, interacting with us and at times, flirting with us.
Hyde is brilliant as Henry and has clearly been taken over himself by this character with dual personalities. There is the initial Henry we meet, who is timid, nervous and fidgety and it’s almost a relentless power struggle between him and the angry, loud and erratic Henry.
As we delve inside the mind of this troubled man Hyde creates and retains all the nuances that make Henry who he is. His body language, the fidgeting, his inflections and stutters remain constant and considering all eyes are fixated on him for the whole time, are very impressive. The confidence of being Henry is evident when he even remains in character to acknowledge and welcome some latecomers into the theatre.
Although Blake Garner’s lighting design and James Luscombe’s sound design are at a discreet minimum in this production, they ensure that when they do come into play, they are used at the most advantageous moments to create the most impact.
The great thing about an abstract play such as Here Lies Henry is that we have the freedom to interpret it as we want. Even the title itself could mean here lies Henry baring his soul and self to us or here stands Henry lying to us, as he openly admits he does.
It takes a lot to make one-person shows successful, as having a sole performer in front of you who not only demands your attention but also deserves it is not an easy accomplishment. Hyde does this and then some in a flawless performance. Here Lies Henry is a thoroughly thought-provoking, experimental piece that will leave audiences thinking about it long after they have seen it.
Venue: Theatreworks, 14 Acland St, St Kilda
Season: Until 27 January | 7:30pm
Tickets: $30 Full | $22 Conc
Bookings: 9534 3388 or http://www.theatreworks.org.au