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Blue Soul, Red Heart

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Lisa-Marie Ryan has created a very personal cabaret show in Blue Soul, Red Heart.

It is a 60-minute journey about the 24-year-old’s often very fragile state of mind throughout her formative and university years. It doesn’t get much more raw than standing on stage in the intimate setting that is the Bally in Gluttony and admitting that you’ve battled depression.

For these brave and candid admissions, Ryan deserves accolades. Her study and theatre credits all indicate that she takes herself very seriously as a performer.

However, cabaret is a tough genre to master; in my view, it should generally strike a balance between laughs, song, dance and more melancholy subject matter. This show was focused largely on the darker, troublesome time Ryan has had.

The artist shares her timeline of when things fell apart, but there are few specifics explaining the how or why. Instead, she leaves it to her song choices to express the myriad emotions she experienced while battling an alarming mental health crisis. These songs – such as “Fever” and “Holding out for a Hero” – complement her very frank attitude and her voice is certainly good. The rendition of “Skinny Love” is a highlight.

Ryan’s story is one that members of her own generation will likely relate to better than an older crowd. It’s a delicate topic she tackles, and while I didn’t love Blue Soul, Red Heart, shows such as this play an important role in raising awareness about depression and audiences can be grateful she is courageous enough to share her experiences. Hopefully life is looking up for Ryan now.

Blue Soul, Red Heart is playing in the Bally, in Gluttony nightly until March 9.

As Lisa-Marie Ryan points out during her show, if you or someone you know needs to talk about depression, you should contact LifeLine on 13 11 14.

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