Adler & Gibb at the Unicorn Theatre
This play threatens to cross the thin line between excellence and pretentiousness, but luckily it never does – Adler & Gibb is original, engaging and watchable throughout.
Writer and director Tim Crouch mixes innocence with guilt: the Hollywood money-making world with the revolutionary art of fictional duo Adler and Gibb; the lustful relationship between movie star Louise and her manager Sam with the breathtaking love between the two artists. As Louise tears apart Gibb’s world and vision of her life all for the sake of money and fame, the shallowness of that industry is exposed to us all. This impressive and high-concept satire is perfectly executed, everything precise, sharp and shocking.
There are elements of the absurd – Gibb and Louise face each other, arguing while holding lobsters – but mixed in are disturbingly real scenes, like when Sam throws up onto the stage and chokes on his own blood. The performance is narrated over by a student, whose presentation at college ten years prior to the plot, sheds light onto the career of Adler and popular opinion about her relationship with Gibb.
Gina Moxley is exceptional as Gibb. Her voice is full of aching longing, and she manages to capture a character whose vivacious fire has died but still has some sparks of her inner-self intact. Cath Whitefield and Mark Edel-Hunt perfectly convey the coarse, businesslike and money-making attitude of Hollywood stars. Perhaps the only element of both of their performances that seemed unnecessary – and also confusing – is how their accents change halfway through, from English to Californian. There may have been some reasoning behind this, but it is not clear and instead feels like a mistake.
Adler & Gibb combines elements of a thriller with mystery but, most of all, tragedy, stripping bare the selfishness in so many of us. The play experiments with form, staging and plot and is a far better testament to the work of Adler and Gibb than the Hollywood film that threatens to destroy the reality of their existence. It is dark and will continue to unfurl in your mind after it has finished – it is well worth a watch.
Adler & Gibb is at the Unicorn Theatre from 31st August until 3rd September 2016, for more information or to book visit here.
Watch the trailer for Adler & Gibb here: