Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: Now Listen To Me Very Carefully, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Ben Walters.
When Arnie said he’d be back, he didn’t mean 238 times. But that’s how often Andy Roberts watched Terminator 2: Judgment Day, first as a kid, then as a grown-up struggling to adjust to adulthood. A therapist advised him to take control of this obsession and the result of that effort is Now Listen To Me Very Carefully, a heartfelt, homemade recreation of the movie that pulls us into Roberts’s world and leaves us feeling all the better for hearing his story as well as the film’s – and helping him tell it.
Roberts’s first step to recovery was to recruit his family into his mission – so we get to hear his mum and dad giving their best impressions of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton, and his young niece asking him to explain plot points and their implications. He also has a sidekick, James Baker, whose silver bodysuit and motorbike helmet make him a dead ringer for the liquid-metal T-1000. But it doesn’t stop there: over the course of the show, almost every audience member will be called on to play a brief part in recreating T2, from impersonating Arnie to getting involved in a remote-control car chase.
There’s clearly a potential cringe factor here but Roberts and Baker cleverly avoid it, establishing a jovial esprit de corps and ensuring no one is unduly burdened. And beyond orchestrating the fun of participating in a DIY remake of a Hollywood blockbuster, Roberts touchingly teases out the elements of the film that got under his skin, including its attention to different forms of parenthood and the desire to change the future. We end up with the warm glow of helping to create something together that couldn’t be done individually – an apt outcome for a tale about overcoming isolation and looking ahead with hope.
Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33) until 31 August / listings
Main image: Alex Brenner
Published in The Scotsman on 28 August 2015
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