Whether you think it or not, we’re all a ‘brand’. Yes, we might not conciously be promoting an idea or trying to sell the latest gadgets, however we all have our own manifestos, there are certain ideas that we want to promote to those around us. The concept of the ‘brand’ has not been as important or prevalant as it is today. We’re more mindful of branding thanks to the emergance of social media. ANTLER Theatre’s If I Were Me takes on this sign of the times concept and condenses it into a very watchable 60 minutes.
If I Were Me could very easily fall into the trap of presenting a very predictable account of the microsmic world of an office, however, refreshingly doesn’t. We’re presented with Phillip, a man constantly reduced to being nothing more than a second thought in the masses of meetings held in regards to branding products, although light hearted, this convention becomes all the more…Phillip clutches onto the heart strings of the audience immediately, resulting in a relatability that resides with him through out the duration of the evening. This is thanks to Nasi Voustas‘ expert comic timing and his down to Earth presence on stage. Consisting of an ensemble of four, the stage continually feels alive. Go getting colleagues, a voice coach, Phillip’s subconscious all adorn the stage, each offering insights into the literal world of the office, and also the metaphorical world of the psyche. Each character perhaps representative of different parts of the mind.
What beautifully remains at the forefront of the show is the power of ‘the voice’. Now this is something we take for granted in everyday interactions, however this important tool allows for us to convey our beliefs, our ideas, our manifestos, our thoughts, our agendas… the list goes on. How we choose to use this may depend on the context of the situation. If I Were Me places a character prohibited by his anxieties to use his voice at the fore, he’s teeming with ideas, but finds himself imprisoned by his own thoughts, and the thoughts of others resulting in him never being taken seriously.
This powerful observation strikes a chord, I’m sure there are plenty of us who would struggle to deliver a speech to a small group of people let alone a crowd. This piece not only comments on the literal voice, but also the marketing voice placed on products to add value, the tag lines, the titles, the slogans, when all that truly exists is the product itself.
A multi layered piece of physical theatre delivering a powerful message about ourselves, If I Were Me is clever to serve a range of themes from identity, objectification, the voice and status with a dose of quick witted comedy, from Daniel Foxsmith‘s speech about brand ‘you’, Daniela Pasquini‘s straight talking yet loveable turn as Phillip’s voice coach to Nerce Ribot‘s interpretation as an overly confident version of Phillip.
If I Were Me is a must see, a smart piece of theatre devised by ANTLER theatre and directed by Jasmine Woodcock-Stewart comparing our daily battles of confidence as a constant tennis match, as we ever quite know how powerful our next opponent/obstacle will be. 4/5
Review written by Lucy Basaba.
If I Were Me is showing at the Soho Theatre until Saturday 26th March. For more information on the production, visit here…