Gordon

Sometimes less is more. Gordon, a one-man show by Ian Winter, tells the story of Barry, a successful but overworked salesman who succumbs to the pressures of modern life and begins losing the things most dear to him. This is a simple premise performed in the simplest of ways: no lighting changes, barely any set, and one solitary performer. Fortunately, Winter is a captivating presence. He doesn’t need to hide behind technical trickery, but lets his words speak for themselves.

His story is as touching as it is harrowing and you can’t help but be swept along by the language.

Barry’s monologue is raw and deeply confessional, encompassing loss, madness, and addiction. At times, the accumulating darkness in Barry’s life seems a little unbelievable – could all this gloom really befall one man? – yet Winter is strong enough to carry it through. He stands, immovable, and spews bitter poetry at the audience like a depressed John Cooper Clarke. The occasional implausibility of Barry’s situation pales alongside Winter’s tightly focussed performance. Barry’s encounters with others – a desperate drive to protect his son from bullies; a woman kissed and never returned to – are described with humanity and, often, informed by a rich, dark humour. His story is as touching as it is harrowing and you can’t help but be swept along by the language.

At times though, the sheer force of the words becomes too much. An occasional pause was needed to allow the gravity of Winter’s words to really sink in. Instead, however, we are barraged with densely packed descriptions of madness that don’t quite give us time to breathe. As a piece of text, Gordon is undeniably impressive, but in a tight, 50-minute performance it feels slightly overwhelming. As a result, whilst the show is unapologetically intense, it doesn’t quite pack the emotional punch you feel it should.

That said, Gordon remains an impressive piece of work and Winter is utterly believable as the man who has lost everything. An uncompromising prose poem, all Gordon needs to remember is that, sometimes, less really is more.

Reviews by Sam Forbes

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The Blurb

2020Theatre presents Gordon, a one man show written and performed by Ian Winter. 'Superb, poetic, raw, abstract, beautifully observed’ (Scotman). ‘Powerful. Poignant. Funny.’ (The Audience). Barry's world is falling apart, people are dead and they want to know why, he needs to know why. The pages are in the wrong places, and chapters are missing too many typos. ‘I have a dream of being trapped in a bear’s den and I can't climb the fence and he knows it, but he doesn't eat me he just sits and waits and the more I dream the closer he is’.

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