Adler & Gibb (4 stars)

It's theatre: stop thinking it bears any relation to reality

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Adler & Gibb

Tim Crouch's stripped down adaptation of his own play arrives at the Fringe promising less stuff, but more theatre. Supposedly questioning the possibility of ever being able to know another person, it condemns art's tendency to excavate the truth, then bury it beneath new lies.

An actor, claiming to be obsessed with the character she is playing in a film, heads to her final resting place, only to meet the character's real life lover, presumed dead. Crouch's direction makes no attempt at naturalism, preferring to stage the scenes as recitation, with minimal scenery and props provided by a wandering child. At no point could the audience mistake the performance for reality.

This form emphasises the powerful message: from the conflict between the actor and the character's lover comes a new version of a person who lived and breathed. This new version wins an Oscar, and becomes the public version. For all her claims of seeking veracity and respecting the artist, the actor really wants fame and recognition.

Crouch has had some nasty scripts, but this is a criticism of performance that hides its savagery behind humour and serious philosophical ideas about reality and representation. The late video footage is extraneous, merely recapping the path of the action, but Crouch, once again, reveals his mastery of form matching content, and the dark truth is spoken with a charming smile.

Summerhall, until 27 Aug, 5.15pm, £15 (£12).

Adler & Gibb

  • 4 stars

Tim Crouch / Royal Court Theatre ‘Hilarious, harrowing and maddening’ ★★★★ (Time Out). In preparation for the film role of a lifetime, an actor goes to extreme lengths to dig up the truth. Her subject is celebrated artist Janet Adler, who rejected the art world in favour of a private life. A re-staging of Tim Crouch’s…

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