If You Kiss Me, Kiss Me
Time Out says
Jane Horrocks sings some of her favourite new wave songs in this peculiar hour of entertainment
It’s hard to know how to describe this strange one-hour show. In essence, it’s Jane Horrocks, of 'Little Voice' fame, singing her favourite northern post-punk tracks of the '70s and '80s, the sounds the Lancastrian actress grew up with. But it’s not a musical – there’s not really any talking and no tangible theme, although Horrocks regurgitates some Gang of Four musings about depictions of love in songs. And it aspires to be more than a covers gig, with striking staging (a huge electric socket and plug courtesy of Bunny Christie – suggesting, maybe, the jolt of energy this music delivered into drab domestic worlds) and four dancers, choreographed by Aletta Collins.
Petite and youthful, Horrocks actually makes a credible frontwoman, perfecting the glacial serenity of Debbie Harry (and sporting a similar messed-up peroxide bob). She tackles tracks by Gang of Four, Joy Division, Buzzcocks and Soft Cell with gusto, offering now a punk holler, now a little girl whisper, slowing The Fall’s 'My New House' down into a seductive sprawl, and adding tear-stained pathos to The Smiths’ 'I Know It’s Over'. She ably supported by a tight on stage band including Grammy and Emmy-winning producer Kipper and The Damned’s Rat Scabies – they gloriously ramp up an electronic squall for the closing number, Morrissey’s 'Life Is a Pigsty'. The dancers, meanwhile, explore the juddering, jagged rhythms and scrappy energy of the music, sometimes seeming aggressively sexual, sometimes playful, sometimes lost and staggering in a narcotic haze. You can’t help thinking wistfully, though, of how Michael Clark’s iconoclastic choreography tapped into the The Fall’s post-punk swagger.
It’s also a bit odd to have this music of grungy despair presented so slickly, with a theatre audience sitting watching politely, when its decidedly rough edges were surely a significant part of the messy appeal. Horrocks reliving her teen fandom is engaging up to a point, but the show really needed a clearer direction to make it feel like more than just a fleeting hour of entertainment.
BY: SIOBHAN MURPHY