My Name is Irrelevant

Thu 3rd – Mon 28th August 2017


Dan Mahoney

at 11:03 on 17th Aug 2017



‘My Name is Irrelevant’ as a title is certainly arresting if nothing else. The show follows through on its promise too, as this is essentially a one man show in which we never learn the name of our protagonist. Delivered in the form of a lecture on the people this man has met over the course of his life, ‘My Name is Irrelevant’ is a show in which we learn nothing and everything about a man struggling with issues of identity and reality. It’s a heartfelt and brilliant exploration of isolation, introversion and love which holds tight on your attention and doesn’t let go until hours later.

Written and performed by Matthew Leonard Hall, ‘My Name is Irrelevant’ combines poetry and prose writings into this slowly unravelling lecture, switching between styles and rhyme schemes on the fly. For a show attempting to depict the often confused and disorganised way in which one man’s mind works, the switches do an effective job of creating an off-kilter atmosphere, one which may flow brilliantly at one point before being abruptly interrupted by a new train of thought. Rhythm is a huge part of what makes this performance so effective, and it’s impossible to talk about this without mentioning one of the best things about this show: the music.

Because this isn’t really a one man show. Whilst Hall is the only character and speaks uninterrupted to us throughout the entire hour, sat next to him on stage at all times is Jim Harbourne, who performs a live soundtrack using only a guitar and percussion, sampling himself on the fly to create denser soundscapes. Harbourne’s score is absolutely fantastic, complementing and enhancing Hall’s performance to create moments of tenderness, comedy and intensity. When Hall’s character’s fears and anxieties bubble to the surface and panic begins to infuse into his performance, the subtle layering of Harbourne’s score can create an atmosphere of real oppression. Even the repetition of a single discordant note underneath an otherwise positive speech from Hall can create a fascinating sense of ambiguity and cause us to question our narrator.

Visually, ‘My Name is Irrelevant’ makes a little go a long way. The aesthetic is deliberately lo-fi, with the focal point of the stage being the old fashioned slide projector Hall uses to show us the faces of those he is talking about. Throughout the performance we get the sense that this is very much a labour of love for our protagonist, and the tactile nature of the projector adds to this as opposed to the clean detachment of a Powerpoint. Hall’s performance is impressively physical too, all nervous tics and awkward movements at times and barely contained frustration and anger at others.

‘My Name is Irrelevant’ is a brilliant combination of performance poetry, character exploration and music that come together to form something special. Sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes life-affirming but always engrossing, this is a fantastic show from two top class performers.


Anna Ley

at 11:45 on 17th Aug 2017



Matthew Leonard Hall’s musical monologue places the usually introverted character into total relevance in the powerfully poetic ‘My Name is Irrelevant’. Staged in the beautiful Assembly Hall would be reason enough to visit this play but paired with the beauty in the writing, it is an exquisite experience. The audience is invited into Hall’s flat in the very middle of his routine rehearsal, regurgitating the fictional lives of a series of figures. They are, like Hall, immeadiatley lead to ‘forget who you were and become someone else’ stepping into the safe haven of his flat and its caivites of introspection and becoming Matthew. With its metamorphosis of his powerpoint of pictures, from name to story, Matthew’s name soon too becomes irrelevant in the deeply engrossing tale that takes life in Hall’s outrageously passionate performance.

As a musical monologue, ‘My Name is Irrelevant’s’ journey of jaunty rhymes run parallel with Hall’s personal progression, capturing the charisma and the corruptions. Jim the musician masters the musical navigation of Hall’s journey, following the peaks and troughs of his passion and heartache for the people in the photograph to whom he has become attached, from the pulverising pressures to go outside and explore to the delicacy of the lighter tones of a budding ficitional romance. Inscribing the intonation with compelling cadence, it is this element that brings the poetry to life with onomatopoeic passion.

Inviting us into his cramped flat and introspection of his confined mind, this piece exquisitely encapsulates the healing power of creativity. Portraying poetry as a medium for which your ‘mind to escape’, it becomes a space for Matthew to march on out of and confront his complexities. Hall captures the poem’s power over its poet, to confront the struggles of an infuriatingly introverted being, and therefore accept them in a coarse yet soothing experience that is as cathartically pleasing to its audience as it is for Hall. Though Hall suggests he was intimidated by the ‘perfect script’ of romantic ‘wordsmith-masters’, his beautiful writing paints him as a compelling composer himself.

Finished off with a moving note that offers support and encouragement to those that empathise with his situation, Hall clearly wanted to connect with his audience as individuals and he truly touches the oddities within us all. According to Hall, this moving piece began once as a ‘small seed’ of poetry and in in this performance it blossoms into a beautiful plant, the twisting and twining vines of self acceptance and appreciation. But only does it do so with the fertilisation of the energised music and the engrossingly enthusiastic performance of Hall. It was a privilege to be part of such a vunerable yet undoubtedly valuable piece of theatre.


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