Bombastic Declaration of Love – Julie Cafmeyer

And intimate confessional of relationship neediness doesn't quite warm up its audience

★★★
theatre review | Read in About 2 minutes
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Bombastic Declaration of Love
Published 12 Aug 2017

Julie Cafmeyer proves a queen of overshare in this frank, slightly unnerving show. Part of the Big in Belgium strand, it’s a one-woman piece that skips around her love life, offering up fragments of a series of relationships.

She slides too around projections of photos, text messages, and emails – sometimes getting the audience to read them out. We get a patchwork picture of a young woman’s desperate behaviour towards the unavailable free-spirited men she falls hard for, following them round on their travels or hounding them with needy missives.

“What I feel for you, it’s bombastic”, she once told a man – yet actually Cafmeyer is far from histrionic here. She has a disarmingly open candour about her emotional neediness, laid out with a semi-smile and a lack of embarrassment. There is something radical in refusing to be ashamed of this emotional intensity, this complete inability to play it cool. Still, there is also often also a cringe curled within the audience’s laughter at her stories.

Maybe European audiences are happier to share, but when Cafmeyer calmly asks Edinburgh questions about their own expectations and demands in relationships, we don’t exactly match her incisive honesty. Certainly, when I’m questioned about whether I “ask for too much in relationships”, all I can manage is a gargled ascent, as I pray for the Summerhall dissection room to swallow me whole. Maybe this would work better as a late-night confessional; 10.30am is frankly too early to be confronting one’s own failures in love.