Tilda Swinton Answers an Ad on Craigslist
It’s so refreshing when something actually lives up to the hype surrounding it. Tilda Swinton Answers an Ad on Craigslist is every bit as outlandish as its title suggests, but for all the right reasons. Tom Lenk is Tilda Swinton. Finding Walt, a depressed gay man via Craigslist, she goes about dissecting his entire life as part of a hilarious character study for her next big movie role. Written by Byron Lane, who also stars as the lovable Walt, this is a genuinely laugh-out-loud and joyous experience, and it’s not hard to see why the show has enjoyed sold-out runs at Edinburgh Fringe as well as in New York, LA and San Francisco, receiving deserved acclaim.
The intimate setting of the Crescent at The Vaults in Waterloo, which Lenk refers to as a dungeon, invites us into this strange and unpredictable world where Siri is a character and depression is dealt with both sensitively and humorously at the same time. This is quite unlike anything you will have seen. Absurd, surreal and over the top, yes, but with substance beneath the outrageousness and too many side-splitting moments to count. The fact that we have a likeable protagonist in Walt, someone we genuinely grow to care about in the relatively short running time, allows the production to be accessible – although an understanding of pop culture and film references certainly helps.
Walking through the audience draped in bubble wrap at the start of the show, Lenk is without a doubt what the evening is all about, shining in a raucous role he was simply born to play. In fact, the idea of someone else depicting Tilda Swinton in this way seems impossible. The lead is well-supported and complemented by the remainder of the small cast. They are all clearly well into their stride here with refined and assured performances laced with perfect comedic timing from all. Mark Jude Sullivan and Jayne Entwistle both multi-role, with their different characters clearly defined. We have spotlights and smoke effects throughout, however, nothing detracts from the performances on show, with Tom DeTrinis’s direction unapologetically outlandish and fully embracing this utterly mad world in which we find ourselves.
The only disappointment is when the evening’s entertainment comes to its conclusion after just an hour – albeit with a feel-good ending that leaves us with a positive message and a sense of being uplifted. This is the epitome of entertainment and it’s not to be missed.
Tilda Swinton Answers an Ad on Craigslist is at the Crescent from 6th until 17th February 2019. For further information or to book visit the show’s festival page here.
Read more reviews from our Vault Festival 2019 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Vault Festival website here.