How To Survive A Post-Truth Apocalypse – 3 Stars


How To Survive A Post-Truth Apocalypse

Battersea Arts Centre

Reviewed – 17th May 2018


“The interactive nature of Beard’s show is the element that is certainly the most engaging”


In the last couple of years, there has been a certain turn of phrase that has seemed to become evermore present and relevant within our society. Fake news. Whether it’s our politicians, media, social media or advertising that is spouting or spinning some kind of lie cloaked as fact, fake news seems to constantly surround us. What can we believe? Spoken word artist Francesca Beard in particular, is looking for answers. To be more precise, she is on a quest to reclaim truth and bring it back for humankind. In her one-woman performance, How To Survive A Post-Truth Apocalypse, she journeys through deliberation, questions, hypotheses and fantasies to an improved world where lies have vanished. Yet, not all transpires as she anticipates. Through storytelling and regular audience participation, Beard handles a current topic of debate with quirky and imaginative flare that does not always land, but certainly has high-spirited intentions.

Francesca is of Shaman ancestry, or so we are originally led to believe. She needs our help following in her family’s footsteps and seeking the oracles of past, present and future to find the answer of truth and regain it. On a metaphysical expedition not dissimilar to that of Frodo through Middle Earth, Francesca guides us around ancient, mystical regions of forest, rivers and mountains, all possessing a challenge that must be overcome before being able to pass. In the guise of a game show, karaoke or role-play, these challenges, set by the higher powers that be, question our perceptions of lies. Francesca requires honesty from her audience/fellow travellers to candidly admit when we most regularly use lies and where they may actually be useful in our lives. Whether it is lying to save hurting a loved one’s feelings, or twisting the truth for your job, a world without deceit could be harsher than one filled with fabrication.

The interactive nature of Beard’s show is the element that is certainly the most engaging. She has a low-key and warm style with the audience, a forceful yet inviting approach to getting reluctant members of the public to contribute. At times it can feel strained, like clutching at straws, but Francesca perseveres. Her observations on us all being everyday liars is highly perceptive and the familiarity in the situations she refers to, offers a sense of unity with your neighbour sitting next to you. Beard declares that she is not a storyteller but a poet, which becomes clear through her longer, spoken word pieces of existential crisis. The incredibly detailed and metaphorical nature of her writing at times feels very dense, stilting what starts as a light-hearted and inclusive take on recent issues, becoming more about Francesca’s personal perceptions, which can border on feeling self-indulgent.


Reviewed by Phoebe Cole

Photography by Claire Haigh


How To Survive A Post-Truth Apocalypse

Battersea Arts Centre until 19th May



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