From Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads
From Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads at Waterloo East Theatre
From Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads is a play written and directed by Adrian Berry. It tells of Martin, an 18 year old who is struggling with mental health difficulties. His mother is an alcoholic and his father left when he was 2 but his obsession with Bowie is the one constant in his life. On his 18th birthday a letter from the past pushes him to take a trip to London and walk in the footsteps of Bowie and in the process learns more about himself than he may have been prepare for.
It is performed at Waterloo East theatre by a lone performer, Alex Walton. Walton takes the place of the narrator, Martin himself and numerous other people that Martin encounters on his journey from a small boy at the school gate to the record shop owner. Alex taking on so many roles could have easily have caused confusion but due to Alex’s ability to adapt his body language and voice so vastly this was overcome with apparent ease.
Despite the sterling job of Walton’s delivery the script felt overly grandiose at times. Often words used felt like they were chosen for the poetry of the words rather than the development of the story. Whilst we are told that Martin likes poetry these words don’t seem believable in context and consequently jarred.
For a play that was about an obsession with Bowie I would have liked to hear more of his music. When music was used it felt inconsequential and distant from the show itself. Music is such an emotive force that this could have added another emotional layer to the piece. The same could be said for the projected images used. This was inconsistent as on occasions the images showed where Martin was at the precise moment in the play where as other times the use of large boxes were utilised from everything to a telephone box to a bed.
The journey section of Martin following his map felt underdeveloped. We are only transported to a few places, Bowie’s school, his childhood home, a toy shop and a pub in Croydon are the main focus and there is very little as to when Bowie was at the height of his fame. I would have liked to have seen Martin’s journey parallel with Bowie’s own development however the 2 seemed distant and lacking in any connection.
Unfortunately despite Walton’s best efforts ‘From Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads’ did not do justice to Bowie’s rich and creative life and what sounded like an interesting concept failed to deliver.
From Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads plays at the Waterloo East Theatre until the 6th November.