DramaNorth WestReview

Live Before You Die – The Lowry, Salford

Writers: Byron Vincent and Dave McGinn

Reviewer: Jo Beggs

Dave is making the most of every day he gets to spend with his best mate Byron, because Byron is bi-polar and suicidal, and every day could be his last. Dave is on a mission to make Byron happier – and also to make a brilliant documentary, because he’s always wanted to be a film-maker. Dave and Byron set off to the US in search of advice from a bunch of academics and psychologists. Live Before You Die is the story of that journey.

Byron Vincent is a performance artist, McGinn has a ‘proper job’ and is here facing his fear of getting up in front of a room full of people for the first time. He’s staying in his comfort zone to some extent –  he’s the one in charge of things, the one operating the film sections of the show from behind his laptop – but really he’s just here spending some time with his friend – and keeping an eye on him. It’s the genuine friendship here that makes for a hugely entertaining, poignant show, and one that, despite tackling some pretty serious mental health issues head-on, is tremendously warm and funny. The two are natural performers, Vincent a lively, likeable show-off and McGinn a master of self –deprecation and understated comic timing. They have written a show full of great jokes and are both consummate story-tellers.

Live Before You Die follows a traditional performance/performance art model – go off and do a thing / make a show about it – but avoids falling into the potential trap of being painfully self-centred. Both performers are coming at with a sense of fun, and with a warmth that suggests they both care more about the other than they do about themselves. In the end, it’s an extraordinarily uplifting and enjoyable hour of entertainment.

The show is on its way to the Edinburgh (Free) Fringe. Vincent and McGinn will win a few hearts – and surely plenty of stars – amongst the Fringe audiences and critics. At the end of the show Vincent offers himself up for free hugs by the exit – and there’s a queue of people waiting to take up his offer.

Reviewed on 6 July 2018 | Image: Contributed

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The North West team is under the editorship of John Roberts. 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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