Birmingham and Tour
All You Need is LSD: Leo Butler
Told By An Idiot
Birmingham Rep Theatre: The Door, and on Tour
Runs: 1h 40m, no interval. Birmingham Rep till 13 October
Bham Rep BO: 0121 236 4455
Review: Rod Dungate, 9 October 2018
An out of your head (and body) experience
It doesn’t take more than a minute or so before Told By An Idiot leaves you in no doubt that you’d better hang on to your seat tight – for this will be a journey fast, furious, and very often, funny.
The title tells you what lies within – an exploration, celebration even, of the mind expanding properties of LSD. The company throws known forms of structure energetically into the bin; the narratives (there are several, all running simultaneously) pop in and out with a wild surrealism. The second part is much the same – except it’s ‘trippy’ too.
The show is packed with information – history, chemistry, effects. But while we learn much, the style of performance adds value, both our emotions and our intellects are stimulated. So Alice jostles with The Crucible jostles with Ronald Reagan jostles with the need to buy butter that isn’t too salty.
The frenetic pace is welcomingly tempered from time to time with quieter moments. The death of Aldous Huxley (who requested LSD to see himself out – what an interesting idea) is moving. And the character of the playwright writing words and seeing them as a link into the future is intriguing. That this segues into Dr Who is a delight. But the Dr Who sequence is more than just an idle or humorous whim . . . but that’s another story.
Amidst all this fun, we are from time to time reminded there is a dark side that must not be ignored.
This is a strong ensemble company of skilled players. Under the directors’ orchestration they do well to mould these glimpsed fragments into a coherent whole. As the company enables the show to relax it will grow. But just a small request . . . please look to the clarity of the diction in the loud and most wild sections – bits get lost.
It’s an absolute delight to see this company’s anarchic style of insane sanity once more.
Annie Fitzmaurice, Jack Hunter, Sophie Marcel, George Potts
Director: Paul Hunter, Stephen Harper
Designer: Sophie Clist
Lighting Designer: Alex Boucher
Composer: Sophie Cotton