My Name is Irrelevant

A deeply troubling portrayal of mental health problems

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My Name is Irrelevant
Published 09 Aug 2017

In My Name is Irrelevant, writer Matthew Leonard Hall gives us a deeply troubled—and troubling—persona. Performing as a man who tells us that his name is irrelevant, Leonard is accompanied by live music from Jim Harbourne as he begins to deliver a “lecture” on people he’s met.

Scrolling through a slideshow of rather lovely faded photographs, we are introduced to Charlie, 43, who’ll eat rhubarb in a pie but not a tart and Tracy, 40, who washes her hands 23 times a day. Described in a nauseating tone of affection, the roster slowly begins to disintegrate, with discrepancies creeping in. It becomes clear that these people are purely in the imagination of a lonely and isolated mind.

The incarnation of mental health problems Leonard has chosen to present is a man notably proprietorial over other people—he describes a homeless man as “my Oliver”—while at the same time treating them as though they were as irrelevant as he considers his own name. One photograph is used repeatedly to illustrate a series of different women, towards whom there is a latent sense that he is owed an interaction (no men are described in the same way). Fantasising about his perfect woman, he thinks in exclusively physical terms, imagining sniffing her hair, seeing her bare; "squidgy arse", "thin".

The form Leonard has decided to present the show in—a rhyme scheme to which the dialogue is awkwardly, archaically bent—constantly reminds us of the constructed nature of the piece, and his choices as a writer. And yet the show lacks any reflection on a psyche that, while sympathetic in its disturbance, is undeniably menacing too.