Bird's Nest Theatre, London SE8
Opened 13 March, 1991

Jack Kerouac has become a reference, a name to drop rather than a subject for serious attention: everyone thinks they know him, including I who have never read a word by the man. Richard Deakin's episodic, collagey bioplay thus fills a gap that we'd forgotten existed, and fills it unfussily and classily. Kerouac's and Neal Cassady's lives are presented without melodrama or misplaced reverence, and Adam Henderson's Jack in particular works the audience with subtle craft. I'm not so sure about the blatant Tom Waitisms of Peter Jagger's vocals, but the flexibility of the score (guitar-accompanied choric songs, double-bass incidental music and taped bebop standards) allows for greater and more detailed responsiveness. A fine production which deserves to be seen by more than reference-droppers.

Written for City Limits magazine.

Copyright Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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