Requiem for Adam

Simian Features
Whorlton Village Hall, Teesdale

Requiem for Adam publicity photo

Village Halls are making a comeback. Turns out they never really went away, but theatre has snuck back in to plug a hole in our social history. It’s a retro idea that’s for sure, and well, it worked in the seventies, so why not? And let's face it, walking to the local village hall or a community venue close by is far more appealing than an hours fight with the traffic to get to the theatre and of course you have to stop off at the petrol station to buy more liquid gold.

And so to Whorlton Village Hall on a Friday night in deepest Teesdale. Local actor Gordon Duffy-McGhie is no stranger to the folk of Barnard Castle where he lives with his wife and family. Many will remember his innovative show, Red Peter, the irreverent drunken monkey. He’s a one man show with Comedia training, a passion for physical theatre and the comic genius of a real artisan.

Getting hold of a ticket for this performance was tricky; “All sold out a week ago” I was told; but with a bit of persuasion, they squashed me in.

A street fellow pushes his way through the audience, all the time politely aplogising as he trundles two battered suitcases towards the stage. He’s wearing a tatty top hat, decorated with a tired flower, his face still smudged with the red and white paint of yesterday’s laughter. Pinned to his coat are raffle tickets, all bearing the number thirteen; his number. Adam is a most original sinner, but its not his fault, so he’s amassed a pile of evidence for his chance appointment with the main man at the pearly gates. He wants to get into paradise and he’s ready to rewrite history to make that happen.

Based, very loosely, on a short story by Mark Twain, Gordon Duffy-McGhie performs his wordless story in a masterclass of mime. With all the condiments of the original first story, he pulls Eve from his rib-cage DIY style, eats the sinful apple and tackles the seductive snake. There’s a lovely tender scene where Eve has died and he holds her hand and even though her hand is nothing but a hessian sausage, its very touching. Sound and light are innovative, carefully corrupt and everything about this one-man show is just plain incorrigibly funny. This sad, poignant clown performs biblical balloon modelling in his baggy long johns with some hilarious results. His captivating physical style of theatre produced peels of laughter from an adoring audience. Watch out for an ingenious bit of stitchery below the waist and, ladies, please make sure your mascara is waterproof.

Duffy-McGhie adapted this piece specifically for the Prague Fringe Festival where he won the equivalent of a Fringe First in September of this year. Requiem for Adam will tour small venues in the North East, dates to be announced.

Siminan Features website

Reviewer: Helen Brown

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