JACKSON’S WAY: THE CHRISTMAS TOP-UP SEMINAR
by Will Adamsdale.
Battersea Arts Centre Lavender Hill SW11 5TN To 12 December 2015,
Runs 1hr 15min No interval.
TICKETS: 020 7223 2223.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 2 December.
Maximum show with minimal substance.
It’s something not too distant from a triumph that Will Adamsdale’s one-man show depicting a supercharged Life Coach in action – or ‘Jackson’ he might say – makes a comic idea that might be expected to last up to ten minutes self-sustaining in its absurdity for at least twenty-five.
Bouncing with energy, gassed-up with self-conviction, life-coach Chris John Jackson bounds on stage as the climax to his own verbal fanfare. Wearing the giveaway ear-piece and head-mike of the natural self-advertiser, Adamsdale’s Jackson forces a loud complicity of unearned enthusiasm among the audience before starting-out on his seminar.
It is, of course, accompanied by the usual projected images and graphs that suggest research but mean nothing. And when it comes to demonstrating impossible points, it shows nothing but that they are impossible. Which isn’t that revolutionary.
And by the time Jackson’s tried holding his hand in two places simultaneously, or rhyming two words that have no common sounds (“cat” and “orange” were audience suggestions) and concluding it can’t be done, with various other impossible tasks in which he sometimes involves members of his audience, the point repeatedly being made with such loud enthusiasm seems so obvious the mind escapes into similar futile ideas.
How about putting a quart into a pint pot? Or a ship inside a bottle? Wait; that can be done. With skill and technique. Incorporating those would help this over-extended session quite a lot.
Eventually, the technology fails, just as its graphs are supposed to be backing-up a point he’s making. So, it’s back to the old technology as he pulls a curtain aside to bring a flipchart onstage. Alongside it, lies a load of old junk, which is brought into play because Jackson’s contract requires a number of references to Christmas.
It makes for a numbing final section where the predictable style tells the familiar Christmas story with unlikely domestic objects being incorporated in a reasonably inventive, but hardly innovative way. Knowing how much story there is still to come as Jackson’s enthusiasm wears increasingly thin, makes a final section that is, mixing one’s Christian calendar, a crucifying experience.
C J Jackson: Will Adamsdale.
Additional direction: Ed Gaughan.