Love Songs – The Project Arts Centre, Dublin

Reviewer: Emma Devlin

Creator and Director: Phillip Connaughton

Phillip Connaughton has put together a remarkable performance that transcends genre. On entering the space the show has already started, with a group of eight dancers, kitted out in strange almost synchronised swimmer outfits, shuffling on the spot to a tinkling piano background. It seems to go on to the point of discomfort, which is a recurring theme in the piece.

The true beginning of the show is a bang. Helen Jordan’s showgirl dances onto the stage with eight members of the company to perform a song, with encouraged audience participation. At the same time Connaughton appears eating a small cake to get the audience laughing. The piece is a whirlwind, moving from interesting and touching dialogue between Jordan and Connaughton, to modern and intriguing dance pieces, to Jordan’s solo songs, to deep house music, to dates between Connaughton and a screen of artificial intelligence. It’s quite difficult to describe this show other than to say it is mesmerising throughout.

There are quite a few laugh out loud moments, which may not be expected from a dance piece, but Connaughton and Jordan have a very easy and enjoyable relationship on stage, that often tends towards the heartfelt; they both shine as the stars of this show. The set design by Molly O’Cathain is well thought out and suited to the atmosphere, and Emily Ní Bhroin’s costumes are perfectly glitz and glamour, but the standout has to be the sound design by Luca Truffarelli, who manages to balance all of the different genres without jarring the audience.

A wonderful tribute to the love of performing, the love of mothers, and the love songs that move us.

Runs until 17th December 2022

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The Ireland team is currently under the editorship of Laura Marriott. 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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