From Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads

Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33) ​ 13:55 Aug 18-28 1 hour 20 minutes

fromibizatothenorfolkbroadsI am really in two minds about this show. Alex Walton gives a great one-man performance as a damaged teenager, Martin, who is obsessed with both the music and personality of David Bowie. On a sparse set he gives a very physical and moving performance which wrestles with issues of mental health and abandonment. The basic structure of the play is also interesting with a clear plot of the youth retracing his Father’s footsteps following a kind of Bowie map which takes in Bowie’s first school (Stockwell Infants School), his nearby home etc. The clips from Bowie interviews which are interspersed are fascinating. So far so good…

For me the problem is the writing. It’s not even as if Adrian Berry can’t write. There are places where the writing is excellent, a session with a psychologist and the, very funny, karaoke scene (set in the former Greyhound pub where Bowie performed live in 1972) stand out. I’ve thought about it a lot and I think it is when the troubled youth is explaining himself if flowery language using lots of similes that I found a turn-off. To be fair, perhaps it was intended by the writer to indicate the head in the clouds inner world of this troubled youth. After a while it just got on my nerves!

The play is an hour and twenty minutes long. It would be a much better play if 20 minutes of dialogue were cut.

Well worth seeing and, if edited carefully, would be a more powerful production. The music box version of ‘Life on Mars’ is worth the admission price on it’s own! I’d be really interested to hear what other Bowie fans made of this curious tale!

Reviewed by Patrick Harrington

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