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If You Kiss Me, Kiss Me

Published 17 March 2016

What’s it all about?

Jane Horrocks’ part gig, part dance performance love letter to New Wave, the experience of growing up to a backdrop of The Smiths and Joy Division, and the punk spirit of live music.

This isn’t theatre as you might know it. Instead it’s an electric experience that had me craving the chance to see it all over again, but this time in a dive bar somewhere with a packet of cigarettes and booze in hand. It would help if I could travel back in time to 1982 too while we’re at it.

Who’s in it?

Horrocks take audiences through an eclectic set list from Gang Of Four to Soft Cell, The Fall to Human League. Looking every inch the post-punk rock star in her boiler suit, torn t-shirts and metallic bomber jackets, she plays the part of every archetypal musician in turn, from the sex God to the inebriated swaggerer. For Joy Division she’s morose, for The Smiths she’s tortured and for Buzzcocks she’s pumped.

She’s supported by a live band and four dancers who move around the set in a disjointed, tangle of limbs. Aletta Collins’ choreography is Ian Curtis meets Carlos Acosta: it’s sexy, pleasingly messy, in short pretty rock ‘n’ roll.

What should I look out for?

The most emo, lazily cool version of the Macarena ever performed.

Horrocks take on The Smiths’ I Know It’s Over. The desperation that rings through her voice is heart-breaking.

Bunny Christie’s Claes Oldenburg-inspired set. With a giant plug socket as the backdrop, things get a bit Punk Borrower at times.  

In a nutshell?

Jane Horrocks proves love really does tear us apart in her electrifying, evocative theatrical gig that boasts the cold and cool aesthetics of an art installation.

What’s being said on Twitter?

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Will I like it?

At points during If You Kiss Me, Kiss Me the words ‘SHOW’ are spelt out in huge letters, and Horrocks really does give us that. While she never reveals what these bands mean to her or why she has chosen these particular songs, the performance captures the deep seated importance only the music of your adolescence can ever really have, of the torturous nature of love and the exhilarating, soul-churning effect live music can have. If you’re a music fan, dig out your Morrissey t-shirt and go.

If You Kiss Me, Kiss Me is playing until 16 April. You can book tickets through the Young Vic website.

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