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The Independent Critic

Jon Tarcy, Dusan Mrden, Lucy Hilton-Jones
Harvey Puttock
11 Mins.

 "Life's a Show" an Amusing, Thoughtful Short 

Writer/director Harvey Puttock is back with his latest short film. Life's a Show is, at least moderately so, a pandemic-inspired comedy short centered around an actor named Matt (Jon Tarcy), whose upcoming play has been cancelled due to lockdown and he finds himself frustrated without an audience and without, well, direction. At the advice of his mother (voiced by Lucy Phelps), Matt hires a director (Dusan Mrden) to direct his seemingly directionless life. Before we know it, Matt's director has gotten a little carried away while the sudden appearance of an audience, complete with its own director (Lucy Hilton-Jones), complicates matters even more. 

Tapping into the heart and humor of what has turned out to be a global shutdown, Puttock has rather ingeniously crafted an engaging and entertaining 11-minute short film that benefits from its leading trio of performances. 

Tarcy is a joy as Matt. Simultaneously possessing moments of vulnerability and a noteworthy lack of self-awareness, Tarcy's Matt is endearing as he seeks to give his life a new direction in most precisely the wrong way. It's fun watching Tarcy portray Matt as Matt's self-awareness starts to grow and his entire demeanor shifts. 

Dusan Mrden carries a devilish glee as Matt's first director, a guy at first hesitant to leap into such an unusual task but then a guy who becomes painstakingly detailed in his precise, awkward, and often mean-spirited direction of Matt. 

On the flip side of the directorial coin, Lucy Hilton-Jones practically steals the entire show as Matt's second director. She's kinder and gentler and the film's entire energy shifts and jolts once she arrives on the screen. I definitely wanted more of Hilton-Jones. 

This is most definitely a Harvey Puttock kind of film. It's an inspired and comically insightful story brought nicely to life by Puttock and a refreshingly light take on the influence of this pandemic that seems to never want to end. Puttock finds a silver lining here and entertains us all along the way. 

Life's a Show is currently on its film fest circuit before a planned streaming release. While even the fests continue to be influenced by the pandemic, if you get a chance this is definitely a film to check out. 

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic