Riverside Studios, London W6
Opened 11 January, 1991

Renowned theatrical weirdo Ken Campbell has forsaken his epic presentations of old in favour of solo story-telling, reincarnating himself as a kind of English Spalding Gray on acid. His story careers wildly through such topics as accidental invisibility, the Lea River filter beds, Red Indians, self-trepannation with a Black & Decker and streaking through Paddington Station.

Campbell gesticulates in an alien body language and paces around the stage as if searching desperately for the end of his sentence among the few bizarre props: hidden in the folds of an angler's umbrella, or under the phrenological head on the picnic bench, or in a pocket of what can only be described as a Swiss Army jerkin.

But this impression of the story running away from him belies the craft with which he has assembled his bundle of recollections, offbeat literary references and plain oddities. Gobbets of surreal trivia are thrown out apparently casually, only to be looped back into the tale an hour later; responses are repeated word for word but have in the interim acquired wholly new resonances.

Campbell has created a hilarious, mystifying, compelling one-man digest of all that lurks in the undercurrents when one swims out of the mainstream.

Written for The Independent.

Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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