Revelations

James Rowland
James Rowland
Summerhall
to

Revelations, written and performed by James Rowland, is a “personal account about being a sperm donor for his best friend, Emma, and her wife, Sarah”.

At the start, Rowland engages the audience in a sing-along.

The world is so big.
And we are so small.
And sometimes it is hard
To make sense of it all.
But when we sing, it lets the light back in.

This is a fair description of the parameters of James’s story.

James is naïve with a child-like view on life. He wants to tell you about snow-days from his childhood and about his best friends, Emma and Sarah. They desperately want to have a baby and approach James gingerly to donate his sperm. He cannot say yes fast enough.

But like all children, adult James must grow up and nothing catapults us faster than a healthy dose of reality, the bad stuff. “Sing like it’s the last time. And nothing bad will ever happen.” Ah, but it does. It always does. Spoiler alert: there is a sad ending. But Rowland tells us this in the beginning by opening the piece with “I’m sorry” and tells us that he will say it again at the end.

Rowland knows his material and is a good storyteller. He has a clear, dramatic voice. He owns the audience from the beginning. Like watching toddlers at play.

This is the third in a series of dramatised stories so the form has probably been set with earlier pieces. He breaks off from time to time to punctuate his story with amplified music which, at times, drowns out the story. This may be working against him as, every time he goes into these musical insets, he loses the audience a little; they have to change gears.

Daniel Goldman is credited with directing the piece. Like all good directors, he has shaped the piece and then knew when to get out of the way.

Catherine Lamm