These Are Your Lives

Theatre, Fringe
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Tom Cruise as an icon of existentialism? Young company Geste Records make a strong case for exactly that in this conceptual piece, which recreates in loop the film star’s chat show appearances and iconic scenes to unpick the way we all build an idea of ourselves, then grow into it and stultify.

No matter what role he’s playing, Tom Cruise is always, first and foremost, Tom Cruise: his hair never changes and neither do his mannerisms. Even when he’s not acting he’s playing Tom Cruise. Movement director Tara D’Arquian converts his gestures into choreography, so that every single one starts to glitch with self-consciousness. Cruise, you realise, is a construction, precisely calibrated for a particular effect.

But, then, aren’t we all? We all want to kiss as perfectly as Cruise kisses in ‘Cocktail’, half-dancing down the street with Elisabeth Shue, before slowing to a snog. We all want our wallets exactly where we left them every time, like Cruise at the start of ‘Eyes Wide Shut’. We live routines on repeat, taking 27 takes if necessary to get things just right.

With its live choral score and an aloofness that comes across as cold, ‘These Are Your Lives’ is two parts Robert Wilson, one part Charlie Kaufman. Alexander Rennie’s production places too much stock in repetition (you’ll feel the need, the need for speed) and sorely lacks a sense of humour, but that’s forgiveable on account of its chewy ideas and original thinking.


By: Matt Trueman

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