by Rachel Gildea

Not even the pre-show warning from Saori could have prepared me for what I was about to witness. The show was to be an ‘emotional rollercoaster’, and the audience were asked to ‘enjoy the ride’. It came off the rails fairly rapidly.
Moran’s opening line ‘This sucks…I hate doing the show’ set a confusing tone.
‘The show’ was a series of sketches and private jokes between the unlikely double-act: Saori, a charming Japanese dancer and John, an intense and nervy American. Their surreal skits darted with no obvious thread from childhood tantrums to McDonalds’ workers. We were at the mercy of John and Saori’s fickle minds, following the crazy loops and tangents of their thoughts. Was this the rollercoaster?
Perhaps the most puzzling element of ‘the show’ was the conflict between intense preparation and a casual, laid-back delivery. Before he performed the song ‘For Rebecca’ Moran confided his painful love for her. The song was chilling, juxtaposing the low, guitar strings against the high, tortured squeals of his vocals. Suddenly, he interrupted himself, laughing nervously ‘Strange song huh?’ Immediately his performance was demeaned, he was ridiculing himself.
However, the ‘Portrait of Soari’ was impressive. Saori mimed and acted over a pre-recorded sound collage of her quirky sayings (‘Where is my gold earring?’) and Moran’s especially created piano piece. The show was now back on the rails, but unfortunately the ride was over.
The audience were left confused, not knowing whether to applaud. This experimental theatre piece had fizzled and disappointed.

John Moran and his Neighbour Saori (North Wall Arts Centre, Wednesday 18th March 2009)