Written and performed by Tom Stuart, I Am Not Myself These Days is adapted from the autobiography by Josh Kilmer-Purcell. This one man show tells the story of Josh, who for a time was leading a double life - working at an ad agency by day, and dressing as drag queen, Aqua by night. Set in New York in the 1990's we see Aqua fall in love with Jack - a high class, drug fuelled rent-boy as she herself battles with alcoholism.
It might not sound the most inspiring of stories, but Stuart's creation of Aqua - radiant in her pink sequined dress, seven-inch red stilettos and the most imaginative use of a bra I have ever seen - charms the audience straight away. A clever script allows Stuart to incorporate other characters that are involved in Aqua's turbulent life and along with various very well lip synced diva songs scattered through the 75 minute performance, moves the narrative on beautifully. The energy required to fuel all of these characters in particular Aqua herself is exhausting just to watch. It is not all dramatics however, as the script is littered with some lovely funny one-liners that Stuart delivers wonderfully; peeling away the different layers of Aqua is something that Stuart does rather well and his performance is incredible.
Nestled snugly in the Playhouse Studio the set is simply a black stage with some neon lighting and some props near by. Clever use of the lighting plays an important part to the storytelling, designed by Guy Hoare and gives the set that retro New York style. There are moments of real tenderness, humour and plenty of tension, and it is hard to believe that this is Stuart's first play as a writer.
Directed by Nick Bagnall and produced by Fuel, I Am Not Myself These Days is a spectacular one-man tale, told with passion and energy. A highlight of the season and a show that deserves to be seen more than once.
Cast: Tom Stuart
Director: Nick Bagnall
I Am Not Myself These Days runs until 06 February. For tickets and information about the show and tour dates please visit: