Lie Collector

Reviewer's Rating


I think I’m in love with Yve Blake. I think you will be too if you go and see Lie Collector. She enters the stage wearing a cowboy jacket covered in tiny plastic trolls inspired by the internet namesakes who pollute her website. For the next hour, she then unleashes a wonderful mash of verbatim offerings from ‘the internet’, as she calls her public contributors, and a cracking original musical score inspired by those contributions. To top it all off, she delivers with an irresistible charm.

As I sit here typing this up and eating my housemate’s ice cream, I’m greatly comforted by the notion that ‘It’s Not Stealing if it’s Food’; one of the many lies-come-jazzy musical numbers. At first, she tells us, The Internet was reticent about sharing its past of deceit, particular when faced with the awe-inspiring invitation to share ‘the greatest lies you’ve ever told’. However, make the question more specific and suddenly her virtual confessors couldn’t wait to spill the beans.

Greatest excuses for running late to work, Biggest lies whilst at work and the lies people tell to their children are amongst the show’s juicy fodder, which reminded me that there’s nowt more entertaining than reality, especially when it’s a lie. One parent’s tactic to get their child to sleep was to tell them that flying sharks can smell when children are awake after midnight and will come to devour them. This hysterically turns into a one woman duet between the lying parent and the child as it is disembowelled by said shark. Described as a Comedy Musical, it’s not surprising to find whiffs of some of the classics in this original score. The gruesome glee of the shark routine is vaguely reminiscent of Sweeney Todd, the puppet rivalry over a fake, internet hotty has some of the acute crudity of Avenue Q and do I detect a hint of Les Mis in the poignant heroism of the Leprechaun song? I ask myself, with a voice like hers, why is Yve not gracing the West End?
Hats off to the whole team who have made this heart-warming production possible. Joel Enfield’s video design so brilliantly complements the soundtrack that I have the feeling that we are apart of a series of surreal, music videos with 80s game-style graphics and body popping gingerbread men as backing dancers. Scott Quinn and Blake’s lyrical composition is a real triumph, bordering on genius.
If there are faults to be pointed out, I would say the use of the space is one. The majority of the Tunnel’s relatively large Studio stage remains fairly redundant as Yve sticks to the Mic downstage centre and the laptop downstage right, from where she seamlessly operates her own musical cues. This is heightened by the technical issues of lighting her performance when not in these two spots. However, she usually doesn’t stay in the dark for long and the cautious blocking is more than made up for by the playfulness that infuses the material.
This is not a silly show, although seeing Yves back off stage in the dark wearing a giant rainbow costume after doing a number about the online self we want people to believe, is borderline. As the sassy solo artist tells us towards the end, she wanted to turn the lies people tell into a musical comedy but she discovered that a lot of true stories were more “deep” than comical. Seemingly, she’s got the best of both worlds, and she makes the most of it. If you’ve yet to visit Vault Festival 2015, put Lie Collector on your list.