Altamont

altamont_2014ALTAMON_YGat C Nova (venue 145)
Until 25 August

This one man play by John Stenhouse tells the story of the tragic events of the Altamont Speedway Free Festival of December 6, 1969. My vague knowledge of that day was only that Hells Angels had turned on a largely hippie, peace and love audience and some people had died. I knew this day was seen as marking the day when the counter-culture dream turned into a nightmare.  Other than this I knew nothing.

I certainly came out of this show knowing a lot more. The story is told from the perspective of Joe a hippy fan. Stenhouse is engaging in this role and a great storyteller (he is also the writer). Staying in character (apart from breaks when he depicts an intimidating Hells Angel and Mick Jagger) he brings the day alive from arrival to departure. A still at the end tells us of subsequent events. Stenhouse gives us a real sense of the layout of the show, the chronology of events and the mistakes made but more than this he gives us a sense of the hope and optimism of those attending and the shock when everything started to go badly wrong. No mean feat for one person in a fairly short performance!

 

Reviewed by Pat Harrington

 

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