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If You Kiss Me, Kiss Me (Young Vic Theatre)

April 6, 2016

(seen at the afternoon performance on 2nd April 2016).

 

Do you remember a few years ago, when newspapers regularly gave away CDs free? Quite often, they would be of songs you’d never heard before, or want to – but you’d “give it a listen” so that you could feel you were “broadening your horizons.” Well, this was a bit like that. And it shouldn’t have been.

Billed as a fusion of 80s music and dance, the music was the oddity. As I was leaving the theatre, a woman exclaimed loudly, “I’d never heard a single song they used.” I thought it was just me, as the 80s was my era. Even though I had little interest in the music of the time, I knew what was “around,” or so I thought. I guess the “North / South divide” extended to ‘bands we listen to’ as well.

Anyway, quite honestly most of the songs sounded like each other. “Empire State Human” and “My New House” were a bit of relief, as was the ballad “I Know It’s Over,” but the rest just melded into one not very engaging blur (no pun intended, too early anyway). Credit to Jane Horrocks, though, her voice is better than ever as she sang her way through the songbook of her youth.

Horrocks “tops and tails” the piece with (I found out by reading another review – the programme was pretty hopeless on such details) quotes from “The Smiths.” This is all about what love feels like, and how it seemed in her teenage Northern room, then at the end, how it seemed looking back. Well, that was the theory.

The actual book of this presentation was absent, at least to those like myself who like, but don’t fully ‘read,’ modern dance that well. It rather struck me that there was little cohesion or coherence to the flow of songs, interpreted by the hard-working dance troupe; and nothing much developed beyond one couple having a, er, very “athletic” time of it.

That said, the dance was pretty outstanding, Lorena Randi and Daniel Hay-Gordon in particular as memorable movers. The trouble was that the few times it was simple to pick up on any narrative, there was no real progression to follow on to the next song and accompanying routine. I probably missed it, but that’s what it felt like.

Bunny Christie comes up with a fun plug and socket design, a “show” cut-out, and at various times a table, chair and fridge rumbling on and off, too. Andreas Fuchs manages almost always to produce the lighting intended, but it seemed curious to use strip-lights suspended from the grid, which left noticeable shadows on the floor below as other effects painted it. If that was intentional, well and good, but my feeling was that it was simply something that couldn’t be worked around and became, “well, it was meant to be like that, really” in the end.

A loud (I used ear-plugs, worked fine) show; reasonably engaging for the most part – vocals and dance more than the actual music – but ultimately a bit more of a concept than a permanent success. Rather like its decade and subject, really.

About 2 and a half stars, rising to 3 for the odd sequence. At over 50p a minute, there are other ways of learning about love for the same cash, probably…

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