If You Love Me This Might Hurt – Camden People’s Theatre, London

Reviewer: Elle Elizabeth

Writers and Directors: Matty May and Daisy Hale

In If You Love Me This Might Hurt, a personal yet humorous account of their struggles with mental health, Matty May gives an honest but brief insight into their life story in this, their debut solo show. The one act performance covers topics such as rage, suicide and growing up queer, as well as the safe haven that is their Nan’s house They do so with great comedic timing and interaction with the audience, breaking down the fourth wall.

The small and minimalistic setting inside Camden People’s Theatre, along with the subtle use of lighting and music, gives an intimate feel, adding to the effect that May is confiding in the audience as friends rather than putting on a performance. Having said this, the combination of the personal story and aspects of the show seeming obviously scripted make the performance somewhat confusing at times. Some lines feel overly staged and this particular story could benefit from a more relaxed and natural delivery with less focus on timings being exactly as rehearsed.

May incorporates an interesting use of music and lip syncing which mostly adds to the humour of their story, although some of these interludes feel a little too long and therefore begin to diminish in effect. Still, this thought-provoking piece has the audience laughing along to May’s relatable and, at times, hilarious story with the odd tear also being shed.

The show touches upon the current failings of society in relation to mental health support although it feels like this could play more of a significant role in the piece. May says that ‘This show ain’t gentle babes’ but it is arguable that being a little less gentle still could help the show and leave the audience with fewer dry eyes.

The performance has great potential although it feels as though this is not yet in its final form and could use a little polishing. This show has an important message and although it might not be quite there yet, it offers a fun and welcoming night out. It is well worth the trip to the quirky little venue to laugh alongside the lovely May.

Runs until 30  October 2021

The Reviews Hub Score

Plenty of powerful, funny and thought-provoking moments  

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The Reviews Hub - London

The Reviews Hub London is under the acting editorship of Richard Maguire. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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