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Truth's Vision

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
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The production notes for Hatstand Productions' Truth's Vision claim the piece is "Freud meets Gershwin". Mostly though it is more Freud meets Bridget Jones, with some rewritten songs chucked in somewhat randomly.

Socially awkward Grace is in a boring job producing desk calendars, with no love life, no friends and no-one interested in her other than her mother, who rings up to criticise her dress sense. The two sides of Grace's character, the realist (Truth, played by Lily Lowe-Myers who also wrote and directed) and the optimist, Vision (Robyn Cooper), battle for supremacy with the goal for happiness focused on attracting and keeping a boy- or girl-friend.

So desperate Grace falls for Ted, a drunk and a womaniser, represented by a wooden hatstand, before she finally, with Truth's help, sees the light. Reality and optimism eventually find a way to co-exist, resulting in a more balanced, happier Grace who has the strength to deal with the difficulties of her life and work while enjoying what life has to offer. It's very obviously a lesson to the audience in "How to be happy".

While there are a few funny moments, and Robyn Cooper performs some lovely visual comedy business with Ted, the pretend-boyfriend-cum-hatstand, Truth's Vision is never quite as hilarious as it seems to think it is. The songs, including "Anything You Can Do" and "Mad About the Boy" with lyrics revised to fit the play, are sung nicely, if not particularly strongly, and occasionally the performances flag, creating a few limp moments when the pace suddenly drops. The whole thing feels as though it could do with a bit more oomph to fill the Bridewell's unforgivingly large (and on the opening day chilly) performance space.

The Bridewell's Lunchbox Theatre strand is a great idea to try to drag local office workers from their al-desko lunches. While the existential angst with songs of Truth's Vision might not be the piece to pack the place, it's to be hoped that these lunchtime shows continue.

-Carole Gordon


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