Taylor Mac: Take a deep breath

Performance art has never been so entertaining

Fri, Sep 20, 2013, 11:15

Taylor Mac: A 20th-Century Concert Abridged

Smock Alley Theatre

****

“This is not a regular concert,” Taylor Mac reminds us halfway through the evening. “This. Is. A. Performance. Art. Concert.” As if we needed reminding: it’s not every show that starts with a “radical fairy realness ritual” that involves breathing exercises to “open our chakras”, but then again, Taylor Mac is not like every performer. The eccentric New York-based actor/playwright/drag artist/singer has brought an abridged version of his ambitious “24-hour-long” project (scheduled to take place in 2015) to Dublin, performing songs from each decade of the 20th century with a fine backing band comprised of mostly local musicians. Channelling his inner Judy Garland for some glorious takes on songs as diverse as Accentuate the Positive, Only You and Patti Smith’s poignant Birdland, Mac’s proclivity for witty rambling tangents mid-song are almost as entertaining as the tunes themselves. It all has the potential to get a bit silly, but a stomping version of Nina Simone’s Mississippi Goddam underscores the fact that most of his song choices have cultural significance, personal substance, or at least a message of some sort. Above all else, it is fabulously entertaining. Go.

Ends Sept 21st