ADLER & GIBB
by Tim Crouch.
Royal Court Theatre (Jerwood Theatre Downstairs) Sloane Square SW1W 8AS To 5 July 2014.
Mon-Sat 7.30pm; Mat Thu & Sat 2.30pm.
Audio-described 5 July 2.30pm.
Captioned 2 July.
Runs: 2hr 10min One interval.
TICKETS 020 7565 -5000.
Review: Carole Woddis 19 June.
Brilliant complex of life and art.
Adler & Gibb is something of a teaser. Are the eponymous American conceptual artists around whom Tim Crouch creates his latest work real or fictional? A zip through the search engines reveals an American artist Janet Adler, but one who appears to be very much alive. In Crouch’s scenario, Adler dies in 2003.
Crouch’s interest in form and visual art has already led to such vividly unorthodox but thrilling theatre as The Author and An Oak Tree.
So it is here. In what might be described as an extended performance art installation, Crouch runs the gamut of styles from abstract to full blown cinematic Hollywood realism where an award ceremony is gleefully satirised but also carries a dreadful final sting in its tail.
Intertwined with the formalistic exploration however is the central theme of Adler & Gibb; conceptual artists who `met’ in 1976, became Manhattan celebrities only to disappear and bury themselves in an isolated forest. Their story is told as if by a young student making a scholarship presentation for a scholarship with commentary and slides.
Equally it’s told by a third narrative line, `Louise’, a young actress and her coach `Sam’ searching for the surviving, reclusive Margaret Gibb in her cabin. Louise wants to make a film of the couple, especially Adler who, she says, she has idolised as a role model since a teenager.
Crouch’s methodology using young children as `conceptual’ prop dispensers and acting rehearsal techniques is sly, sometimes slow and lengthy but ultimately brilliantly controlled and gradually acquires chilling tension in a way that has both shocking and salutary implications. Initially seeming to mock radical feminist artists of the period, it becomes a highly ethical, galvanising attack on the appropriation of personal life for consumption as art. And self-interest.
To find character in acting, the mantra goes `object, obstacle, intention’. That, in the end, is all there is, screams Sam. And in life. Getting what we want.
Adler & Gibb, in the end, is as much about ourselves, the audience, and our drives and consumption of art as it is about artistic and commercial cannibalism.
Gibb: Amelda Brown.
Sam: Brian Ferguson.
Louise: Denise Gough.
Student: Rachel Redford.
Child Performers: Eryk Adjdinovski & Sonny Neath/Nico Dietz & Miila Dietz/Lily Mace Horan & George Purves.
Directors: Tim Crouch, Karl James, Andy Smith.
Designer: Lizzie Clachan.
Lighting: Natasha Chivers.
Sound/Composers: Ben & Max Ringham.
Film: Christine Molloy, Joe Lawlor.
Dialect coach: Michaela Kennen.
Assistant director: Caroline Byrne.
World premiere of Adler & Gibb at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs Sloane Square London on Friday, 13 June 2014.
Adler & Gibb is a co-commission by the Royal Court Theatre with the US Center Theatre Group, Los Angeles.
Adler & Gibb was developed in part at the 2013 Sundance Institute Theatre Lab at MASS MoCA,
Filming for this production was supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
The website www.adlerandgibb.com was produced in collaboration with Camerwell College of Arts.