REVIEW – The Interminable Suicide of Gregory Church, Daniel Kitson (Traverse)

*****

The Interminable Suicide Of Gregory Church sees a welcome return to The Traverse from Daniel Kitson, the Perrier Award winning standup who first performed this charming and insightful monologue at 2009’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

With typically self-effacing manner, Kitson is alone on the stage as he recounts the fictional tale of piecing together the fragments of the late Gregory Church’s life, after taking possession of thousands of his letters. And from the midst of this daunting paper maelstrom, he begins to pluck out details of a man, initially driven to suicide by crushing loneliness; then finding the will to carry on as people begin to slowly reply to his initial batch of ‘farewell’ letters.

Kitson is a born and compelling storyteller. His monologue is engrossing, and as the touching details of the story begin to emerge, the sell-out audience at the Traverse are hanging on every well-delivered word. During the performance’s 90 minutes, he leaps off on tangential anecdotes only once or twice; and it is testament to the strength of Gregory Church’s tale that everyone is impatient for him to return to the story.

Kitson’s piece is at its heart a celebration of the human condition; of the priceless value of relationships, whether transient or lifelong. It is also an examination of the redemptive – and addictive – power of communication, and the irony is not lost on anyone when Kitson briefly pauses mid-performance to lightheartedly chastise an audience member for checking messages on their phone.

Daniel Kitson’s The Interminable Suicide of Gregory Church plays at The Traverse again tonight, 20 May. Details on the Traverse website.

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