Love Me Or I’ll Kill Myself’s unhinged title serves well as an indicator of the nature of this one-woman show, which details the central character’s love affair with a handsome Spanish man and the mental health fallout of their subsequent breakup. Although the subject might not be completely unique, this represents only part of what is presented to us on stage at ZOO Playground.
Early on in the piece, performer Faith Brandon addresses the audience directly, telling us she is desperately seeking the next love of her life, and that this person is somewhere in the room. A crowd member is chosen as today’s victim and is relied on for the remainder of the show. This audience interaction provides some of the biggest laughs as Brandon’s off-the-wall energy is most effective with this element of unpredictability.
The main narrative is interrupted frequently and becomes a little muddled, meandering off on odd tangents. However, there are some fantastic comic lines written into it all, particularly in the second half which focuses on the messy aftermath of the breakup; we need more of these lines. A black magic scene is a comedic highlight as Brandon casts a love spell on our poor chosen audience member. However, it does feel quite out of place, structurally. This merging of two different styles – rehearsed storytelling and eccentric improv – doesn’t seem completely fluid. Some musical interludes also feel like they’ve been beamed in from a separate show, especially at the climax.
Love Me Or I’ll Kill Myself is a mixed bag. The performance is deliberately and effectively manic, but the format is just as disjointed. It’s definitely saved by its humour, though, and Brandon is thoroughly committed to the role throughout.