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I Could've Been Better (Bristol)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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This is innovative, intelligent and quirky theatre.

Idiot Child takes autobiographical details, memories, odd incidents and weaves these elements into a theatrical melange combining storytelling, physical theatre, film and stand up. The result in I Could’ve Been Better is hilarious and poignant in turns and captivating throughout.

We're shown the life of James, one of life's non-achievers. He is a railway worker, surrounded by trains that don't keep to schedule and passengers who don't notice he's there. After years of correspondence with Duncan Goodhew, he challenges himself to learn to swim and takes part in the over 10's race. In his thirties.

Despite James' weediness and passive aggressive behaviour, Jimmy Whiteaker makes him a thoroughly likeable character, interacting with the audience winningly. There's one moment where he asks everyone to make a paper aeroplane and suddenly the theatre is full of six-year-old excitement and competition.

The comedy is spliced with darker moments, and there's a seduction shown as a dance between two hands which had me breathless. Among my favourite things were the edible swimming pool, the race with a playmobile character and the action men. I could go on. Anna Harpin and Jimmy Whiteaker have created a gem of a show. Idiot Child is a company to watch.


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