Borderline A**hole – International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival – Review by Fran Winston
The Ireland Institute, 27 Pearse Street, Dublin 2
Part of the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival
Runs until Sat May 11th 7.30pm nightly. Matinee Saturday 11th 2.30pm
Everyone has a type, or so we think. Julie was no different. She knew what kind of woman she liked and was so determined to find her, she had even employed a lesbian dating coach. But then she meets her dream woman who is nothing like what she envisaged for all these years. The only problem is that she thinks Julie may be borderline (suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder for those not in the know) and isn’t prepared to be with her until she seeks help for her issues. Cue a one-hour journey through one woman’s struggle with her sense of self and her mental health all while dealing with her mother’s terminal illness an imminent demise.
Written and performed by Julie Gieseke this is a very genuine and moving piece. It is more like sitting listening to a friend lament their lack of dating success than a show. Admittedly, the Ireland Centre is an intimate venue but you get the impression that Gieseke could make an audience feel like that no matter how large the space was. It is almost conspiratorial – like you are being let in on a secret.
The writing is witty and poignant. When she talks about her mother you feel the genuine affection emanating from her. Her escapades with the dating coach are hilarious and her experiences in group therapy make for plenty of comedic moments. She has paced this well. It coasts along running the gamut of emotion. Throughout, Gieseke is engaging and genuine.
The lighting design is simple and effective. It doesn’t distract from one woman telling her story. The stage is sparse other than two stools which Gieseke utilises as props becoming everything from a sports car to luggage to the table in a fancy restaurant. While this mainly works there were one or two occasions where I found the constant playing with the stools somewhat distracting. It almost took me out of the story. Gieseke has enough presence and physicality not to have to rely so heavily on props.
You often look at one person shows and imagine how they would be if you expanded the world of the play and employed a few more actors but in this case it is difficult to imagine anyone other than Gieseke sharing this intimate story.
Extremely compelling, it is difficult to believe that Gieseke is only writing and performing for eight years. It is surprisingly endearing and warm, this doesn’t feel like an hour and when it ends you will find yourself wanting to know more.