Writer: Matthew Hall
Director: Ross MacKay
Reviewer: Tom Ralphs
A slide projector mounted on a collection of notebooks, against a backdrop that includes a video player, diaries and paperbacks is the setting for My Name is Irrelevant. It looks like the bedsit of someone trapped in a 1970s childhood, making it the perfect setting for a piece that deals with loneliness, isolation and an inability to cope with the outside world.
Writer and performer Matthew Hall approaches his subject matter from a refreshingly unusual angle, working his way through a series of random photos giving the names and backgrounds of the people on them. As he clicks through the slides at increasingly faster pace he finds it hard to remember what all of them did. You soon realise that he knows none of them, and the reason why he is talking about them remains a mystery.
Underpinned by simple but effective guitar and drumbox accompaniment from Jim Harbourne, Hall then recounts stories from diaries assuming a knowledge of the diarists he doesn’t have, before returning to the slides, and eventually giving three different identities to one person. It’s shortly after this that the reason why he invents lives of people he doesn’t know emerges.
By building the story through the slides and diaries, the insight into the issues Hall is writing about are brought sharply and effectively into focus. The manic delivery of the stories, reminiscent of a mixture of an acid taking version of recently deceased children’s TV presenter Brian Cant, and an equally frantic version of the round on Would I Lie To You where panellists claim to know someone, also makes compelling sense in this context.
By the end of the show you are fully drawn into the world Hall has created and desperately want him to escape it.
Runs until 28 August 2017 | Image: Contributed