My Name is Irrelevant

Aug 26 2017 | By More

★★★★☆    Thoughtful

Assembly Hall (Venue 35): Thurs 3 – Mon 28 Aug 2017
Review by Dylan Taylor

An intimate, two-man show, My Name is Irrelevant uses a series of spoken word poem-monologues to explores the ups and downs of living with an overactive mind.

Matthew Leonard Hall clicks through a collection of pictures using an old slide projector. With Lewis Carroll-like whimsy, he describes the idiosyncratic details of these strangers’ lives. Often jumping quickly from delight to distress, his shifting emotions reveal the difficulties of dealing with his complicated mental states.

Matthew Leonard Hall. Pic Ben Winger

Hall is joined onstage by guitarist Jim Harbourne, who provides Hall’s lyrical recitations with an atmospheric rhythm. Harbourne’s original pieces employ a variety of techniques that effectively mirror Hall’s own mixture of moods.

The close quarters of Assembly Hall’s Baillie Room add to the sense of the performance as confession. As Hall’s character observes, he has not been asked to explain himself—he wants to offer his story voluntarily. Hall’s expressiveness makes his staging feel personal, blurring the line between fiction and the reality that may have inspired it.

Hall’s ability to flow through his performance with spontaneity masks some of the bones constructing it. If one looks closely, however, there is a clear structure underlying all of this which makes its handling all the more impressive. The more Hall’s character describes his ideas and experiences, the more there are hints that something is not quite right about his stories.

slow reveal

This careful, slow reveal allows the narrative to become something much more than the loose collection of anecdotes it at first appears to be.

A particularly inventive moment comes when Hall declares his wish to be Charlie Bucket (of Chocolate Factory fame) before running through an impressive description of his perfect life, blending elements from Roald Dahl’s many novels into one imaginative picture. It is the humour of such passages that keeps the piece lively and amusing.

The use of technology, while minimal, adds a feeling of depth to Hall’s sporadic dipping into past present, and future. Along with the projector, a television is incorporated, which helps bring us to a hopeful conclusion. Whether intentional or not, there is a sense of moving ahead, along with the improving technology, to bigger and better things.

Hall’s powerful message helps us to recognise that stepping into the world outside one’s imagination may not be so impossible after all.

Running Time: 45 minutes
Assembly Hall, Mound Place, EH1 2LU (Venue 35)
Thursday 3 – Monday 28 August 2017
Daily: 1pm.
Tickets from the EdFringe ticketing site

Production Facebook page: @mynameisirrelevantshow


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,