FRINGEWORLD 2017 – The Book of Life (3 stars)

Review by Elli Gemmo

The Book of Life is a mix of fantasy, dark humour and contemporary culture. An interesting crossover between a play and a musical, this experimental show tells the story of a suicidal girl, Lily, who ends up in a mythological/Dantesque limbo where, led by a guide, Charon, she will embark on a journey of self- discovery by facing her grandmother who has an obsession for tea, her uncle Nero who happens to be a T-Rex, and her cousin Pikaia who is the first invertebrate. All of these challenges have a final objective –  to convince God that humanity is still worth saving and to be cared for.

There is a live band playing on the stage that helps the narration of the story with cleverly designed lyrics and a style that is  a mix between gothic and country. The character of God is played by the band’s main guitarist and singer whose energy keeps the show on a high tide and the plot stitched together. At the end, the illusion of theatre is broken and the public is left with the revelation of the whole (non-) sense of the story and to put their lives open to a discussion following the show perspective.

The narration itself is full of imagination, chaos and nonsense. Yet there is an overall sense that something is missing to make the play run smoothly. Truth said, it is also very difficult to put together philosophy, music and dark comedy with a storyline that is intentionally utterly confusing.

The overall result is an oxymoronic light dark comedy, with brilliant music and an interesting view of life.


When: 31st January – 4th February 2017 | 9:30pm

Where: Summer Nights @ State Theatre Centre WA | PERTH

Tickets: $24 – $29

Info: Duration 70 minutes | Suitable 15+ | WA Artist