On Being Yourself But Better is a chaotic mess of a show, making slight thematic sense but feeling no need to give the audience comfort through plot and realism. Hoot! Theatre mixes scenes from classic tv-shows, drag, music and shadow puppetry to bear in the show.
As for the show’s content, it feels like a sketch with serious undertones. Absurdness abounds, often funny and occasoionally dead serious. The shows weakness is it‘s disjointed nature. It feels like a bunch of scenes that individually have quality but don‘t add up well. A couple of them clearly have a thematic link, a couple are clever and one where the audience is flat out told what do, just doesn‘t take it far enough to make it engaging.
That is not to say that the acting is bad or the concept’s not clever. It just felt unfinished. One particularly annoying feature, and this may be a reviewers pet peeve, was when the audience at the back were asked to stand up for a clever bit. However there were another two aspects I flat out missed at the back because of people being in the way. The company was clearly aware that something might be missed but only fixed this in one scene by asking the audience to stand up.
The frustrating issue was that there were moments that were absolutely brilliant, the final part especially. However when a show is this disjointed those moments get lost. Part of the appeal is that the audience is constantly catching up, but for that to work it needs to be thorougly engaged. That just didn‘t happen this time, but stay tuned for Hoot!‘s next show or an even better version of this one because when they strike the right balance between humour, chaos and message it‘s going to be something special. 3/5
This show is a work in progress.
Review written by Ingimar Sverrisson.
On Being Yourself But Better was on at the Mimetic festival at The Vaults from tuesday 18th until Wednesday 26th November. For more information on the festival, visit here…
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