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Ian Kendall's 18th Birthday Magic Show
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An Improvised History of Absolutely Everything
Inside Alan Francis & Barnaby Power
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Interminable Suicide Of Gregory Church, by Daniel Kitson
Iona Dudley-Ward's A Bit of a Character
Is The Daily Mail Dead Yet?
Isma Almas Bombs
Iszi Lawrence: Matter of Tact
It Speaks! Tales Of A Reluctant Showgirl
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The Interminable Suicide Of Gregory Church, by Daniel Kitson
When a man decides to die, he should put his business in order. He should cancel direct debits, empty the fridge, clean the house and, thinks Gregory, he should write letters.
The Interminable Suicide Of Gregory Church, by Daniel Kitson - Fringe 2009
The Interminable Suicide Of Gregory Church is everything you would come to expect from Daniel Kitson’s now traditional annual monologue: a fanciful, tender and romanticised story of a glimpsed life, full of humanity, pathos and warm wit. It’s another step towards making his surname into an adjective to describe this sort of theatrical delight: Kitsonesque.
This particular fiction starts two years ago, when Kitson was looking to move house. In one rural property he viewed, he was delighted to discover an unexpected loft, which he duly scrabbled into – much to the chagrin of the estate agent. There he discovered 30,659 letters spanning 24 years, including one that particularly caught his eye: a suicide note, still poking out of the antique typewriter.
Intrigued, Kitson acquired the 22 boxes and painstakingly sifted through the correspondence, piecing together a life, letter by letter. It soon becomes apparent that the home’s former owner Gregory Church, first planned to take his own life at the very start of the correspondence, writing 57 letters in succession to put his affairs in order – so why did it take him so long?
As the pieces gradually fall together like a jigsaw, Kitson forensically fills in the gaps in this stranger’s life, in a story which soon comes to resemble a Dickensian novel with its many strands. Devotees of Kitson’s previous theatrical work will not be surprised to learn Church turns out to be a misunderstood loner, pining for friendship but finding it crippling difficult to make social contact. Devotees of Kitson’s stand-up, on the other hand, might see that he himself finds it easier to get to know people though such detached research and wistful conjecture than it is to just talk to them.
Exchanges between Church and Woodrow Arnold, the grumpy editor of the local newspaper’s letters page, are delightful in their mock-animosity, conducted in such Victorian insults as ‘buffoon’, blowhard’ and ‘self-important miserablist’, the last of which could very conceivably be applied to the storyteller himself.
Church’s contact with Ben McCrae, the bullied schoolboy he spied at the bus stop and followed through university and marriage, shows a keen paternal instinct, while other relationships evaporated as soon as they begin. Unresolved is the matter of Isabel, the person to whom he writes more than any other, and who never received that ultimate missive, written the night before his death.
The unravelling of the truth behind the mysterious Mr Church is as beguiling as it is compelling, proving yet another tender monologue from a master storyteller.
|Date of live review: Saturday 15th Aug, '09|
Review by Steve Bennett
I saw the preview of this at Battersea Arts Centre last night. It's one of the best pieces of stand up I've ever seen. Funny, moving and in the end, life affirming. A truly brilliant piece of comedy and storytelling!
Saw this as a draft this week in Battersea. Less of a play or a monologue and more a one sided story! Kitson gradually draws his audience into the strange tale of a man who decided to kill himself but was delayed by the very process of notifying those he knew via an old fashioned typed letter. Running at about 1 hour when we saw this Kitson reveals fact by absurd fact about the titular Mr G Church until by the end you are as beguiled and fascinated as he clearly still is by Mr Church. The choices that appear to have been made to rescue a suicide and reignite his interest in life and the wider world around him gain comedic value from repetition and context. A fascinating glipmse into another life and a reminder that just by choosing to continue to exist your very physical presence may give others courage and hope. Well worth seeing. Gentle but profound!
Saw a preview of Daniel Kitson's new show last night at the Battersea Arts Centre. Tremendous - by turns funny, tender, passionate, life-affirming. See this show!
Stories For The Wobbly-Hearted by Daniel Kitson
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Daniel Kitson: Lover, Thinker, Artist and Prophet
Daniel Kitson: The Impotent Fury Of The Privileged
The Honourable Men Of Art
Daniel Kitson: A Made Up Story
Stand Up For Freedom
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Love Innocence And The Word Cock
Daniel Kitson: It's The Fireworks Talking
Daniel Kitson: Weltanschauung
Honourable Men Of Art 2008
Sixty-Six A Church Road: A Lament, Made Of Memories And Kept In Suitcases, By Daniel Kitson
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As of 1.52pm GMT on Friday April 27th 2012, This Show Has No Title
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