My Beautiful Black Dog might just be the cheeriest show about depression you'll ever see. That's not to say it doesn't take its subject matter seriously, but Brigitte Aphrodite refuses to wallow as she tells the story of own battle with mental illness – and the show is all the better for it.
Aphrodite and her boyfriend/co-star/MD, Quiet Boy, storm through their tale via a series of rock songs, spoken word interludes and the occassional moment of fourth-wall-busting self-reflection. Her performance is somewhat shambolic, but adorably so – she's the sort of performer you could watch all day.
Her lyrics comes thick and fast, the poetry peppered with puns, pop culture references and witty rhymes that demand concentration and reward it richly. It's not always easy to give her words the attention they deserve – between Aphrodite's eccentric costume choices and Quiet Boy's own quietly magnetic performance, there's an awful lot going on here. A touch more enunciation wouldn't go amiss.
The show is beautifully paced, swooping from the toxic thrill of 'Pop This Party'—a song so catchy I'm still humming it now—to a low so desperate that the music stops altogether. It's hard to get across the isolation of depression to those who haven't experienced it for themselves – Aphrodite's retreat to silence, broken only by a soundtrack of plaintive, loving voicemails left by worried relatives, is a remarkably effective route in. And the music, when it returns, is all the more joyful in comparison.