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Review: Everything I Do (Summerhall, Edinburgh)

An abstract, beguiling performance of Zoe Ní Riordáin's heartache tunes

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Everything I Do
© Ros Kavanagh

No, it's not a piece paying homage to Brian Adams' hit song from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Although I wouldn't put past someone staging something like that at the Edinburgh Fringe. Instead Everything I Do is Zoe Ní Riordáin's live album performance, featuring songs she penned in her shed about heartache and heartbreak.

Ní Riordáin is a bewitching presence and it's her, here, for an entire album singing through each song – or bits of them – whilst also enacting odd, live-art style moments. She enters dressed in a spacesuit and by the end, she's bounced, weightless on a huge trampoline, worn a spiderman costume and put on a regular suit in order to balance precariously on things (speakers, tables) throughout the room.

With a sly smile and an eye twinkle, Ní Riordáin keeps us guessing as to what the show is. But once you stop questioning and start listening, it all really comes into its own. It's a kind of embodiment of the feelings and thoughts within the album demonstrating the joys and struggles of a relationship. It's abstract, funny, silly and beautiful.

"Do you think you can care about something but not do anything about it?" she asks the audience. "Can you be passionate about something that you can't help?" poses questions, carefully and thoughtfully to the audience, responding with surprise and a smile at what she hears back.

And the music is lovely. It's a little repetitive and it occasionally pokes into a parody of its own lovesick intensity, but Ní Riordáin is well aware of that. She plays with our expectations and balances sound and effect very well. When she hoists the trampoline into the air and sings, her shadow projected onto its round, dark, planet-like canvas, it feels as if, though her words may suggest otherwise, she's singing about the universe itself.

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