House of Life- Soho Theatre, London

Reviewer: Monica Cox

Creator: Sheep Soup

House of Life presents a straightforward premise: to awaken us from our mundane lives through a spiritual journey towards happiness. Upon entering the auditorium, we’re greeted in a church-like manner by Trevor, dressed in a dull grey suit, who shakes our hands and informs us that the RaveRend will be arriving soon. Trevor (Laurence Cole) easily could have been plucked out of The Office and is the representation of the typical rat race worker exhausted by life. He contrasts starkly with the sparkly backdrop and the RaveRend (Ben Welch) head to toe in glitter.

The story unfolds through a typical life-coaching step program, beginning with step one: arrive. The RaveRend guides us with amusing simplistic and clichéd slogans, taking us on a journey to reach the ultimate destination: happiness.

However, the true stars of the show are us, the audience. The audience interactions, whether clapping along or answering questions, are simple yet effectively integrated into the story, building a sense of community among us. Welch and Cole’s charm ensures we feel comfortable to open up and embrace the show’s interactive journey.

The show is hilariously absurd, from the use of ridiculous analogies to the meta-commentary on stating the obvious. Welch’s and Cole’s impressive DJ skills, reminiscent of Marc Rebillet, effectively change the tone through the building of layers whilst constantly engaging through the infectious head-bopping beats. The highlights are Welch’s freestyle performance and his ability to evoke belly laughs and cheek-hurting grins.

Despite its great sense of humour, the show lacks depth, as it hints at the motivation behind the RaveRend’s quest for happiness without fully exploring it. This lack of profundity makes it challenging to embrace the final step and purge our souls. Despite this, House of Life redefines what theatre can be: a safe space to celebrate each other and find inspiration amid a bleak world.

Runs until 6 July 2024

The Reviews Hub Score

Joyous celebration

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The Reviews Hub - London

The Reviews Hub London is under the acting editorship of Richard Maguire. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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