The List
10 August 2009
5 stars

 

Old, forgotten, secret and hidden stuff all push Daniel Kitson’s buttons. It’s one of the reasons why he’s ‘an inveterate emotional hoarder’ and won’t throw away mementoes and decades-old love letters. The comedian and playwright also loves glimpsed lives; fleeting snapshots of someone’s routine, as it allows for projection of whatever heroic, romantic or tragic back-story he wants.

So when Kitson finds an attic full of boxes of letters while househunting, his mind starts racing. This 90-minute monologue pieces together the rewound life of Gregory Church, who began typing suicide letters 24 years before he died. Key Kitson themes recur: cherished friendships, unrequited affection, razor-sharp rants against the media, and these are acted out through ‘the derogatory bombasts’, officious complaints and tender confessions that Church types.

Just as Kitson finds sifting through over 30,000 letters an ‘exciting, nourishing and comforting’ process, his breathless, detailed, verbose delivery, which gathers pace towards its soaring finale, is an exhilarating experience for the audience. As details emerge, stories intertwine and revelations unfold, Kitson’s genius emerges, once again. Interminably talented, and staggeringly good.

Traverse Theatre, 228 1404, until 30 Aug (not 17, 24, 29), 10.15pm, £14–£16 (£10–£11).