Edinburgh Festival Fringe Scotsman review (comedy): Will Adamsdale: Borders at Underbelly Cowgate (Venue 61). Reviewed by Jay Richardson.
Somewhere in the no-man’s land of idiocy and inspiration is where Will Adamsdale resides, crafting this bizarre, strangely watchable hour apparently on the fly. Ten years since he arrived from nowhere, or rather, theatre, to win the Perrier Award, irking comedians and actors alike and prompting a crisis of professional identity whereby he elicited precious few bookings – a psychologically unsettling portrayal of a corpse in ITV’s gardening crime series Rosemary & Thyme notwithstanding – he’s returned to the Fringe with little more than his show title and a blank page.
Because if Adamsdale is to be believed, and I do believe, he had virtually no sense of this piece a week before the festival began. What he did have was the “crap spine” that dumped him out of last year’s Fringe, a rejected song about cricketer Allan Border and a reasonable impression of a man succumbing to a breakdown
Plagued by the possibilities of his enigmatic title, chosen on a whim, he traversed the borough boundaries of London seeking inspiration, a peripheral figure engaging with reality at a fuzzy distance. Recalled now, as if from a dream, it’s all frustratingly languid and seemingly pointless, kept compelling only by Adamsdale’s own persuasive fretting that it might amount to something.
He procrastinates more, exploring the boundary between audience and stage, considers the physical nowhere-ness of Wetherspoon’s Curry Club and becomes steadily more obsessed with the animated figures that once appeared in television commercials for Lloyd’s Bank.
Like him, they’re lost without explicitly defined borders confirming their identity. Mesmerising at times, inexplicable at others, Borders won’t fit anyone’s conception of what a show should be. But perhaps it delineates what one might be: Adamsdale offering a quirkily amusing, nuanced performance that’s both in the room and observing it ironically from the edge.
Will Adamsdale is at Underbelly. More info here.
Originally published in The Scotsman
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