It’s Not About Love review: Shakespeare meets pop in a mixtape of memories

Dublin Fringe Festival: Inspired by the greatest tragic love story, Megan Riordan creates a considered cabaret show

It’s Not About Love: the show is most effective when spilling raw and affecting truths. Photograph: Adam Matthews

It’s Not About Love: the show is most effective when spilling raw and affecting truths. Photograph: Adam Matthews

 

IT’S NOT ABOUT LOVE

The Chocolate Factory
★★★☆☆
There comes a striking moment during Megan Riordan’s considered cabaret show when everything stops, like a missed heartbeat. In a performance that analyses love and love stories through the prism of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, she halts the spry layers of alternative pop and wryly assembled personal material to say, “Oh my god, this is actually my life.”

Whether Riordan’s own emotional patterns imitate art (playing Juliet was a turning point), though, or she fears revealing too much, the show must go on.

Under Aoife Spillane-Hinks’s direction, there is much to show, beginning with a précis of human psychology, neurochemistry and cultural theory (“Thank you for listening to my Ted Talk,” Riordan half-jokes). But the show is most effective in its mixtape rush of music and memories, spilling truths more raw and affecting than the elaborate concept and, finally, a stridently emotive performance convey. Reconceiving the tragic Juliet as a warrior for our times may likewise feel glib, but, after so many scenes of heartbreaks, thankfully romance isn’t dead.

Runs as part of the Dublin Fringe Festival until Sunday, September 22nd