Stephen Oxley's 1989 Fringe monologue now stands as the first half of a diptych. He makes an urbane and decorous Tristram, apologising profusely for the digressions he is unable to resist. As in Laurence Sterne's novel, these meanderings are the real meat of the work – so much so that, beginning the second part, he can summarise the previous 70 minutes as "I was begot; I was born; I was named". To this account is now added another multitude of weird 18th-century anecdotes, such as Tristram's accidental circumcision by a falling sash window. A smart piece of literary truncation – the show's not bad either.
Written for The Independent.
Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.
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