“Knowledge is the stuff of TV game shows,” wrote Jean-François Lyotard witheringly of contemporary culture. But in Making Strange’s energetically comic competition – high on audience involvement and soaked with irony – knowledge can be a hindrance. Our fast-talking hosts Hank (Aonghus Óg McAnally) and McKenzie (Megan Riordan) explain the post-fact condition: an update of George Orwell’s “doublethink” by way of Stephen Colbert’s “truthiness”, where belief outweighs evidence and history is a Wikipedia entry.
The impulse may be satirical and the form parodic, but director Aoife Spillane-Hinks’s production simply asks us to play along. Like the post-fact giddiness, fun trumps content. Contestants succeed by supplying wrong answers to absurd questions (truths and hesitations are penalised) and – on opening night, at least – the audience proved to be hilariously creative cheats and liars. Strictly speaking, the cash prize ought to be counterfeit, but its frantic incentive to distort actually suggests a show with a moral centre; one that must know the truth to reward our lies. Fact.
Runs until Saturday, September 25th
– Peter Crawley