Jane Horrocks’ If You Kiss Me, Kiss Me is the kind of midlife crisis I hope I have one day. The star of The Rise and Fall of Little Voice and Absolutely Fabulous has been recording music with producer Kipper, because why the hell not? And why not perform it at the Young Vic?
Clad in a boiler-suit, she kicks off with a spoken passage from Gang of Four’s Anthrax: “Love crops up quite a lot as something to sing about… It’s because these groups think there’s something very special about it. Either that or else it’s because everybody else sings about it and always has.” The rest of the show is a musical love-letter to the northern post punk and new wave scenes she clearly adores, featuring a live band and some (fairly lacklustre) choreographed dancing. There’s no exposition, just a series of inventive covers, set against a backdrop of a giant plug socket, which may represent things looking big when you’re young, or may just look cool.
Horrocks shows range, flitting from a kind of moody, northern PJ Harvey to a chopped, punky vocal reminiscent of Siouxsie Sioux. Highlights, though, are the more melancholy numbers: I Know It’s Over by the Smiths, a ballad version of Buzzcocks’ What Do I Get and the soulful finale: Morrissey’s Life Is A Pigsty.
It may have the whiff of a vanity project, but it’s a spectacular one, and performed by someone with charisma in spades.
First published in City A.M.