DramaNorth WestReview

What’s the Matter With You? – HOME, Manchester

Director: Esther Dix
Reviewer: Holly Sharp

What’s the Matter With You? A fizzy two-hander that guarantees high drama, razzle-dazzle and a cheeky cuppa with David Cameron, not to mention the disclaimer that “every night will be different” and will end “who knows where”; if you’re not even the tiniest bit intrigued at having a look in at Mighty Heart Theatre’s latest offering after that, then it might be worth grabbing a megaphone and shrieking the show’s title in your own face.

A quick glance at Might Heart’s website reveals a mission to “educate, innovate and challenge the status quo” with What’s the Matter With You? being one of two of the latest stabs at rocking the boat (the other being the perhaps even more intriguingly titled When I feel like Crap I Google Kim Kardashian Fatalso forming part of HOME’s PUSH Festival). Taking the true stories of men and women aged between 18 and 70 as a spawning point for this offbeat, kooky, yet poignant extravaganza; Mighty Heart theatre sculpts a provocative hour questioning society’s approach to mental health and our perception of self and the ‘self’ of those around us. It’s quite the ethical mountainand one that is tackled frankly and unflinchingly by performers Lisa-Marie Hoctor and Samantha Edwards.

Verbatim theatre is always a tricky one, and a bit more fine-tuning is required to transform this piece from good to extraordinary. With so many stories and personalities being shared, it would be lovely for the performances to reflect further the little quirks and nuances between each character. Pace also fizzles at times, the toe-tapping musical intro, complete with a suspiciously talented ‘randomly selected’ piano player, unfortunately only returns to see us off at the end, which feels like a bit of a missed trick. It would be great to have the camp, glittery musical as a recurring theme throughout, as this is where the endearingly eccentric Mighty Heart really shines.

So what’s the matter with Mighty Heart? Nothing. They’re an absolute delight with many years of glittery and political punch-packed performances ahead of them. What’s the Matter With You? is a peppy, endearing hour that could do with some tweaks and tightening up. While this show might not be perfect, their raw talent shines through, so the next one might be.

Reviewed on 23January 2016 | 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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