Shame review: Strutting like a punk diva through a lifetime of self-doubt

Dublin Fringe Festival: Pom Boyd confronts family demons in an absorbing autobiographical show

Shame: Pom Boyd has been performing from an early age, in awkward fabrications before grown-ups, or flustered improvisations to cope with social anxiety and regressive gender politics. Photograph: Derek Speirs

Shame: Pom Boyd has been performing from an early age, in awkward fabrications before grown-ups, or flustered improvisations to cope with social anxiety and regressive gender politics. Photograph: Derek Speirs

a
 

SHAME

Peacock stage, Abbey Theatre
★ ★ ★ ★
Confidence is a faltering performance in this absorbing autobiographical show from Pom Boyd, written with the musician and composer Sean Miller. A jagged memoir of turbulent family history, a lifetime of self-doubt and improvised compensations, it is performed by Boyd with the don’t-give-a-fuck strut of a punk diva, comically undermining the audience and tersely commanding her garage-rock ensemble, in what we come to recognise as another elaborate, defensive act.

Boyd has been performing from an early age, in awkward fabrications before grown-ups, or flustered improvisations to cope with social anxiety and regressive gender politics, the kind of mechanisms that lead naturally into performance. Like the music, it comes with a raw, trashy aesthetic, where mystifying signifiers and found footage gradually reveal their shape.

This isn’t the first show of this fringe – or on this stage – to conceive of mental illness as the gorilla in the room. But Boyd’s recollections of her father’s distressing struggles, her actor mother’s lingering professional embarrassment, and her own distorted self-image are confronted, forgiven and, like the shames of everybody watching, with luck even exorcised.

Runs until Saturday, September 22nd 

a
The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.