Amy Lame: Unhappy Birthday @ Assembly
Last time I saw Ms Lame, it was the wonderfully sweet Mama Cass Family Sideshow based on her admiration for the 60s icon...this time around, it's a more full-throttle show with a different hero: one Steven Patrick Morrissey. Part autobiography, part performance art and all based on her dream birthday party (with a place set for Morrissey), Lame skips between her own true kittenish self, the fun Nazi ( "Isn't this fun?" she insists. "Isn't this amazing, right?!") and maniacal Moz fangirl- and no-one in the audience is safe.
We play Pass The Parcel and a man wins... some sanitary towels! Deep joy! This ties hand in glove with Amy's first period in 1982 and The Smiths' inception. The parcel goes round again and... Huzzah! It's at me! It's... oh fuuuu... National Health glasses... I am made over, start to sweat and panic and am forced to sing Sheila Take A Bow, which I do, ineptly, with all the grace of a vicar in a tutu. Mortifying.
Lame is a fearless performer, impish with a pinch of Riot Grrrl, and handsome devil Scottee's direction is nimble, with Lame conveying the excruciating pain of loving a singer as only an obsessive fan can, attempting to overlook flaws and emulate Moz, playing with identity and androgyny.
The joy of her shows lies in the audience responses and interaction - what's a little ritual humiliation amongst friends? However, she and Scottee are so even-handed that nobody is given more than they can take or made to feel like half a person. As the show progresses and Lame talks of getting older she sees Moz's imperfections for what they are (dodgy political views, militant vegetarianism) like an ex-lover recalling how things soured - after all, a show based around Manchester's most cynical son couldn't be too cute.
So, did Amy Lame ever meet Moz? I couldn't possibly say. Go see the show. It's a riot, but you must swallow your inhibitions. This is charming, man.