Hunter and Johnny

Adam El Hagar & Sam Coulson

d'Animate

Zoo

From 01 August 2014 to 25 August 2014

Rating: *****

Review by Graeme Strachan

The genius of Hunter S Thompson, Gonzo journalist, writer and famed enfant terrible of political and social satire, was rarely better captured than in the 1998 cinematic adaptation of his most famous novel, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

What is less well-known is that the portrayal of the writer by actor Johnny Depp was founded in their deep friendship, which grew largely from a four-month stint where Depp lived in Hunter's basement, observing and learning about the man.

In Hunter and Johnny, d'Animate have created an often frenetic, consistently funny and occasionally touching recreation of those four months, as told by Adam El Hagar's Depp, to a crowd of onlookers at the scattering of Hunter's ashes.

El Hagar proves an absolute embodiment of the actor, with the perfect voice and mannerisms down pat. It's further a testament to the work of Sam Coulson as Hunter that, despite being physically very dissimilar to the tall, hulking bear of a writer, he still captures the essence of the man utterly believeably, standing shoulder to shoulder with El Hagar.

The performance sweeps from amusing anecdotes to musical performance, song, dance and one-way telephone calls, taking the audience on a rollercoaster ride along with 'The Doc' and 'The Colonel' as they create and enjoy the 'Too Much Fun Club'.

As with all good things, the show, and the ride, comes to an end. It's only here that there's disappointment, but it's the sadness of loss, and that the show and the adventure is over.

The Too Much Fun Club is a party you'll want to stay at and, if Hunter and Johnny is the closest we'll ever get to it, then, in the immortal words of Hunter, "Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride".