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If What I Hear is True

By • Off-West End
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A new season of productions at The Yard, a creative space for artists in Hackney Wick, begins with this curious piece by Indian playwright/director Soumyak Kanti DeBiswas. The former warehouse first opened its doors on a temporary basis for theatrical productions last summer and was scheduled to close in October but due to its success has lived to see another season.

If What I Hear is True is inspired by TS Eliot's The Love Song of J Alfred Prufock and the "stream of consciousness" technique of the poem is apparent. Split into two parts with a running time of an hour, the first act is set at 4am in a London nightclub where a blinding combination of sound and visuals provides a backdrop for the introverted reflections of our protagonist.

We jump 12 hours ahead - or behind - to a Sri Lankan beach where Clive (Jay Quinn) stares out to sea, troubled by his innermost thoughts and feelings. Although he seems to have it all - successful job, gorgeous girlfriend - he is a tortured soul and far from happy.

Perhaps the greatest achievement of the production is in demonstrating (in a rather roundabout way) the power of human consciousness, that happiness is in the mind of the beholder and that every supposed truth in life can be subject to multiple perspectives.

Despite managing to thread in a fair whack of observational humour the deeply philosophical nature of the play will be lost on some and frustrate others. People with some knowledge of the TS Eliot poem will benefit from the context and may find it a fascinating if somewhat heavy interpretation.

It is nevertheless a great start to a promising season.

-- Will Stone


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