Here Lies Henry is an ambitious, generally funny solo piece by Canadian writer/performer Daniel MacIvor. It’s being performed at the Sydney Fringe this year by Matthew Hyde, who is at his best when cheekily pushing things along with a very Michael Crawford smile, circa Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em.
Tasked to stand in front of an unknown audience and tell them something they don’t know, Henry tells us the story of his life which seems to be more a case of pushing one lie on top of another, a fabrication of fabrications that are currently repeated, re-structured, and re-presented as Henry tries to figure out what, exactly, is required of him on stage.
It’s clever – Henry is probably the world’s most unreliable narrator, which he seems to love and be a little scared of in turn, which makes for compelling viewing.
Largely funny, though suffering a touch from the circuitous malaise of too much script repetition, Henry and his piece manage to be for the most part intriguingly likable, endearing in brief dance breaks to Lady Gaga’s Edge of Glory, in moments of vulnerable apparent truth, and in Henry’s flirting with an audience member in the front.
A brilliant economics joke is almost missed lodged between ones about Anne Frank and Josef Fritzl, but the brilliance is often there in this play just below the surface impressions, waiting to be found. Henry might even figure out something to tell you that you didn’t already know.