Greg Fleet: This is not a love song
By Jo Withers
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You know that scene in Harry Potter where Dumbledore draws his memories out of his temple in silvery strands and stirs them around in a big basin for inspection? This production is essentially the embodiment of this concept but opened up for the entertainment of others. And featuring more classic 70s, 80s and 90s bangers.
Main character Jimmy Harrison’s silvery strands focus on a past love, though his present self’s honest and often hilarious commentary extends to psychiatry, inspirational quotes and violent hippo attacks. Past Jimmy, meanwhile, ricochets youthfully around the simple stage with then lover Sophie—the two acting out an all-too-familiar tale of smart-girl-meets-self-destructive-creative-with-unrealised-but-frustratingly-evident-capacity-for-romantic-and-fiscal-greatness. The show is by no means cliched, however. It’s compelling and specific, screaming of memories once really lived; intelligent, funny and deeply human.
Punctuating a play about love with songs of the era should come across trite too, but it just… doesn’t. Music is a conduit to the past. Every meaningful relationship has a soundtrack. And Daryl Braithwaite’s The Horses IS a hit.
This play is not about mental illness, though it regularly touches on poor mental health and certainly substance abuse. For those looking to connect with any such themes, I’d predict finding resonance instead around another form of affliction—one similarly characterised by a range of different experiences and frameworks of understanding: love. This is Greg Fleet’s story. Well, one of them. And I’d recommend it to anyone.
You can buy tickets to This Is Not A Love Song here.