ComedyDramaNorth WestReview

Adler & Gibb – The Lowry, Salford

Writer and Director: Tim Crouch
Reviewer: Holly Sharp

Dedicated to giving an accurate portrayal of a deceased, world-renowned conceptual artist, an actor seeks to delve deep into the heart of the woman’s life by raiding her seemingly abandoned home in the remote wilderness. Given the seemingly comprehensible blurb; you’d be forgiven for coming to this show expecting a straight psychological thriller. Straight from a run at Edinburgh, Tim Crouch’s Adler &Gibb is a masterful fusion of naturalism and surrealism erupting out of a captivating contemplation of life and death, reality and fiction, humour and horror.

Anyone with a predisposition for existential crises may find the shifting foundations of this piece a little too much to handle, time is fluid, accents jump across the Atlantic without warning, music booms sporadically when one least expects it. A child, receiving whispered instructions through a headset from an uncredited woman onstage, delivers props to the actors. Sometimes these props are in-keeping with the dialogue, a gun, a costume change, a shovel, sometimes less so, two toy lobsters, a toy cassette player, one of those plastic pinwheels that you get when you go to the beach. All contribute to the fabulously disorientating uncertainty that oozes from this show with every increasingly unnerving turn.

Cath Whitefield exudes hateful narcissism as the actor, Louise, whose moral boundaries progressively erode as she seeks to perfect her prized role. The Student, who may or may not be a younger Louise, is played with beautifully contrasting bright-eyed earnestness by Jillian Pullara while Gina Moxley executes almost implausible control as the possibly dead, possibly alive Margaret Gibb, deviating seamlessly between haunting inhumanness, garbled monotony and heart-aching grief while barely moving a muscle.

One thing’s for certain, if you were to collar each audience member on exit, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who could confidently claim that they fully understood what they’d seen in the last 90 minutes, but far from being frustrating, the myriad of questions and internal dialogue that you take as a souvenir from this show are what makes this piece soar far higher than anything else you’ll see anytime soon. If you think you’re prepared for an engrossing, unsettling and thought-provoking piece that’ll mess your head up for days and stick in your mind for years, then you might be half ready to give Adler &Gibb a go.

Runs until 17 September 2016 | Image: Contributed


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