This is Not Culturally Significant is an entirely naked, one man show. It’s not for everyone.
Described as ‘a brutally intense, darkly comic one-man show that unveils the bizarre, compulsive and eccentric nature of humanity’ it certainly does not disappoint – Adam Scott-Rowley takes to the stage, entirely naked and utterly alone, and proceeds to hurtle through an entire ensemble of characters at breakneck speed over the course of an hour. While an acquired taste, the show is an absolute master class in caricature and multi-rolling.
Written and performed by Scott-Rowley and produced by his own company Out Of Spite Theatre and Eastlake Productions, this show fit the Bunker’s intimate and informal space beautifully and hits you full force from the outset.
The audience didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, be shocked, call out, hide or just to sit in stunned silence. Scott-Rowley is an expert at handling his audience. This seems like the perfect performance for the Edinburgh Fringe; experimental, expressive and certainly not something you would be likely to see in a mainstream theatre on the West End. It has a wonderful feel of sketch comedy, interspersed with stand-up and mixed with devised theatre.
There was some fantastic ad-libbing when a couple of unfortunate audience members tried to sneak in five minutes late. They were immediately singled out until they felt ‘suitably shamed’ and only then allowed to enjoy the rest of the show in relative peace.
However in a suitably frank programme, the previous life span of the piece is explained. From conception at drama school, to a 25 minute snippet at the Etcetera, to an unfortunate daytime slot in a family friendly venue in Edinburgh and on to the Vaults the show has grown and evolved with a clearer message.
The programme touches on the emphasis the naked element of the show has seen. Clothes all too easily become your identity, the image you wish to portray, and they can say far more about a person than they may realise. For this reason the naked element quickly justified itself. Strangely it made the performance feel more androgynous, allowing the characters to flow seamlessly without the distraction of clothes and by letting down this barrier the performance was raw and vulnerable in a painfully uncomfortable way.
It certainly felt powerful, and deeply moving at times but it would be very hard to pinpoint an overall message or feeling the audience left with. Maybe that is the beauty of the play. To each person it will be something different. And it will certainly get you talking.
This does truly feel to be a really brave, original piece of theatre. Hard hitting and with a fantastically talented performer, for those who don’t like their theatre ‘safe’ you have until June 3rd to go and make up your own mind…