Jackson's Way: The London Jacksathon, Gate Theatre, London
Monday 10 January 2011
In spite of winning the 2004 Perrier Award, Will Adamsdale's show never got much of an airing in the capital, something that this Jacksathon, playing 26 London venues in 26 days, is designed to rectify.
Adamsdale, whose stage credits include The Receipt and The Human Computer and screen credits Four Lions and The Boat That Rocked, looks as fresh-faced as ever and has given his part-theatre, part-comedy creation, the American motivational speaker Chris John Jackson, a sprucing to match. The main point of the show, nevertheless, remains pointlessness.
Jackson is the mild-mannered authority on "pushing through with intensity" actions which have no consequence, for example carrying a paper cup from one place to another and swapping it for another cup, or trying to rhyme "leg" with "orange". These absurd pursuits, designed to be taken to the point of nausea in both the physical and metaphysical sense ("speak about Japan until you feel sick" he tells one audience member), undoubtedly tickle his crowd, who enjoy Adamsdale's modest charm and faint ridiculousness. But for a gag-hungry utilitarian like me, the nausea brought on by this celebration of futility is a little too real at times.
Jacksonian theory and practice culminate in a game of "Moving Things" where a collection of the alternative life-coach's cherished junk is moved around in a fruitless fashion. During this closing sequence Jackson is visited by the voice of his brother berating him for his neurotic behaviour. "Now that's a darker area", he says to his audience with a twinkle, sheltering them from the back story.
Jackson also deliberately exposes himself when he admits "sometimes I really don't know what I am doing." Herein lies the character's and show's flaw; the lack of something tangible to hang on to means that some of his charges will not be able to join him in the spirit of his aimless wanderings.
Touring to 30 January (www.jacksons-way.com)
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