A Generous Lover
- Gareth K Vile
- 15 August 2018
Orpheus is lost in the health care system
La JohnJoseph's unique style and finesse lends this apparently autobiographical tragedy of love lost to madness a fierce originality and a cutting charm. Following the descent of La JJ's lover Orpheus into the mental health system, it reflects on the harshness of the visitor's experience as much as detailing the intricacies of a mid swept up in its own mania.
The narrative shares much, structurally, with William Burrough's technique of snapping between scenes, the depiction of the telling moment that reveals the wider context through precise details. The characters of the patients are sketched through conversational episodes, and while La JohnJoseph offers a thoughtful critique of the way that the services treat the patients, the central conceit of a man abandoning a long relationship for the pleasures of mania is pathetic and emotive.
La JohnJoseph alternates between pathos and sharp wit, even gently rendered pop songs that are given a febrile vulnerability, yet the story-telling never loses its clear narrative line or sense of compassion. La JohnJoseph is a distinctive artist, embodying a queerness that is both elegant and forceful. The mythical touches deepen the mundanity of the journey, and the final tragedy is both a testament to love's ability to accept and the pain caused by bi-polar illness.
Summerhall, until 26 Aug (not 20), 4.15pm, £10 (£8).