The rise of the life coach, the empowering 'gurus' who in the last 15 years have created and dominated a whole new field and industry, (for industry it is) has mostly been left un-examined until now. Hypnotist Theatre have brought a piece written by Howard Coase and it's an interesting tale.
Ms Hyde, current leader of the Life Coach pack, at the top of her career disappears, the circumstances and the murky underbelly of the world she inhabited are examined by a distressed and disaffected writer and reporter.
The play cuts between Ms Hyde delivering a group session, Anthony Robbins style; interacting with the audience and making us feel slightly uncomfortable. It also cleverly exposes the peer pressure which is used in these mass group training sessions together with the psychological games employed and good old fashioned humiliation.
We then encounter some of her clients all of which have something in common which Henry David Thoreau recognised in this quote, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” And so it is with Hyde's target demographic. We eventually encounter the writer who is commissioned to undertake an exposé of Ms Hyde's operation but who is himself in personal turmoil with his life and circumstances.
It's a compelling piece of writing having a good form and pace, it also tells a story which is performed remarkable well by the cast. It manages to engage interest whilst still exploring deeper issues and exposes some rather nasty aspects of this form of unlicensed and sometimes unscrupulous life coaching.
I don't want to give anything away here about the arc of the story as the final scene has a dramatic effect which I do not wish to spoil, rather like giving away a punch line to a comedians joke. I strongly recommend this show for people who like to leave a theatre thinking and wondering about the issues it raises and also perhaps asking questions of their own lives
5-31 Aug (not 18)