Creating Chaos

Claire Dowie
Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, and touring
(2004)

The cover of the novel, Creating Chaos
Claire Dowie

Creating Chaos is not a play: it's a novel. What this show was, esssentially, is a book launch - not strictly correct: it was actually launched at the Drill Hall earlier this month, but that's a near enough description. But it's unlike most book launches: how often do authors perform their novels on these occasions? Not read from, but perform.

This is Claire Dowie's "stand-up theatre" taken a step further. In pieces such as Adult Child Dead Child, The Year of the Monkey and H to He, to give just a few examples of this genre, the performer is the protagonist in the drama and, in performance, is it difficult to see where Claire Dowie stops and the protagonist takes over, where the unscripted intro shades into the scripted play. It's like a one-person show with the addition of a lead-in from the performer/author.

Here the two parts seem to be distinct in that we switch from the first person (in the intro) to the third person (in the novel), but because the performer and the author are the same, the two shade into each other and what seems to be a reading turns into a performance, with the central character being, not a character in the novel, but the author.

Reviewer: Peter Lathan