At Rose Matafeo’s “Horndog”, the show begins before the act is even called to the stage, with Matafeo challenging various members of her audience to table tennis as the rest of the crowd files in to find their seats. As she cheers on each opponent, regardless of success, encouraging her audience to do so as well, she seems almost manic. Looking out to the crowd just before collapsing the table so she can start the show, she asks “This was £90. Was that worth it?”
After Matafeo is introduced and the show really starts, it becomes clear this sense of hopeful mania is the theme of the show, which she describes as “putting 100% of your effort into something that isn’t really worth it.” Matafeo touches on all manner of obsessions, from teenagers who flawlessly mimic the moves to synchronized k-pop dance routines, to tracking an ex-partner’s Netflix activity far after the end of a relationship.
She assures the audience that this isn’t going to be a break-up show, or “one of those shows where you learn a lesson” which of course means that’s exactly what it is. Although the “lesson” is fairly evident as a main theme through the show, the break-up element is subtle; Matafeo notes to her audience that while she falls in love so deeply to the point of obsession, she doesn’t fall in love with people so much as the idea of being in love.
While in lesser hands, many of the topics touched upon in “Horndog” – such the infatuation of teenage girls with both boys and boybands – could easily be lent to pot-shots or cheap criticism, Matafeo takes a different approach, turning her show into a celebration of that manic energy, poking fun at her own obsessive tendencies and motivating her audience to rethink the disdain with which society views teenage obsession and passion. ‘Horndog’ is not just an act you’ll want to see at this year’s Fringe, it’s an act you’ll want to recommend to all of your friends as well.
“Horndog” runs until the 26th of August – https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/rose-matafeo-horndog
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