Midsumma: Here Lies Henry

Actor Matthew Hyde said that some of the best acting advice he’s had is: “Grab it by the balls darling and act the shit out of it” – and he sure does so in Here Lies Henry, the second show in the Theatre Works Midsumma season.

Here Lies Henry
Here Lies Henry

Here Lies Henry by Canadian writer Daniel MacIvor was first produced in 1995 and first seen in Australia at the 2012 Sydney Fringe, the same production that’s here for Midsumma.

It’s a solo work about a guy maybe called Henry. He wonders what happened to Nigel Kennedy, likes Lady Gg Ga and he lies, possibly because he fears that the truth will leave him naked or because he knows how great pathological liars are at parties.

He really wants to tell us something we don’t know, but that’s not easy, especially when he’s caught up in his past and his own truth – and we know he tells porkies, so never know when to believe him.

This isn’t a linear plot that’s easy to follow. It’s not hard to follow either and is best enjoyed by jumping on and going with the ride that twists and tumbles and leaves us not knowing which way is up.

And Matthew Hyde’s a delight who leaves everyone understanding why pathological liars usually have an abundance of friends: they are fun to be around and you never know what they are going to do next, even if don’t trust them to tell the time. There’s room for more light and shade in his charismatic performance; his grab it by the balls approach gets attention but makes it easy to focus on the performer rather than the character and his story.

You don’t have to believe someone to enjoy their tales, but reviewers never lie, so don’t be scared to get to Here Lies Henry before it ends on Sunday. It’s intense and mad and will leave you wondering.

A chat with Matthew Hyde 

Anne-Marie Peard

Anne-Marie spent many years working with amazing artists at arts festivals all over Australia. She's been a freelance arts writer for the last 10 years and teaches journalism at Monash University.

Anne-Marie Peard

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