Tim Crouch discusses his cerebal Fringe offering, Adler and Gibb

The master of meta-theatre strips back his London success

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Preview: Adler and Gibb

Tim Crouch’s theatre combines an intellectual rigour with an emotive power: even at his most provocative, he consciously invites audiences to recognise the trickery of performance, drawing attention to theatricality while delivering serious reflections on extremes of human experience. Adler & Gibb has already been received with enthusiasm in its expansive production at London’s Royal Court: for Edinburgh, Crouch is offering a stripped back version.

While Crouch admits that he has been making theatre for long enough that his work has become an expression of his own interests and experiences – ‘It’s not really possible to an artist to do anything else, and remain true to themselves,’ he comments – the themes addressed in Adler & Gibb are, typically for him, profound and resonant.

Following the journey of an actor who is preparing for the role of a lifetime, while worrying whether they will do justice to the ‘real’ person that they will be playing, Crouch explains that ‘like much of my work, it explores ideas of ownership,’ as well as his ‘age-old bugbears around the political nature of representation and the problems of capitalism in art.’

The high concept – and Crouch’s willingness to expose and subvert the format of theatre – does not, however, undermine Crouch’s lightness of touch as a writer. Previous visits to the Edinburgh Fringe have seen him ponder grief, death, violence and even Shakespeare’s most maligned characters without losing his humane warmth and generosity towards the audience.

He does make demands of them: ‘the form of Adler & Gibb is about leaving things undone: it’s an incomplete picture for the audience to then complete, a contradiction for the audience to resolve,’ he says. But his marriage of the cerebral with the compassionate and emotional has ensured that Crouch’s work inspires at the same time that it challenges.

Summerhall, Main Hall, 3–27 Aug 2016 (not 4, 8, 15 & 22), 5.15pm (6.45pm).

Adler & Gibb

  • 4 stars

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