Mother Adam

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Mother Adam

Adam and his 'Mammles' – that's mother, to those of us with less severe Oedipal afflictions – are confined to their cramped studio bedsit. She has crippling arthritis that has left her bedridden; he can hardly leave her, because he's her carer and because he's terrified of the world, despite his threats to exit into it. Inside the room, he can be anything he wants to be – admiral, judge, headmaster – providing she allows it.

The last in Charles Dyer's 'Lonely Trilogy', not significantly revived in nearly 40 years, 'Mother Adam' is a strangely transfixing oddity. Not least because Dyer's linguistic flair puts contemporary playwrights to shame. His text, much of which strays into a concocted pidgin English, is both muscular and balletic. It's a real treat for the ears.

And Jasper Britton, giving one of the best performances in London, matches it for flamboyance, but also cuts through to the source of Adam's pain. Linda Marlowe finds a sweetness in his gnarled mother, and Gene David Kirk's production provides the best showcase for a play that might otherwise have gone another 40 years unseen.

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