Reviewed – 29th January 2018
“Fans of Ken Campbell and those knowledgeable about his work will enjoy this show”
Entering the auditorium at The Bunker you are transported into a 70s time warp thanks to Tim Shortall’s clever set design. The space is decorated with a garish orange shag pile carpet and a mismatch of seating including battered sofas and wicker chairs. Choose your seat carefully, making sure it’s comfortable for the 90 minute ride that is about to follow. Frilled flock lampshades adorn the ceiling, piles of scatter cushions invite the audience to kick off their shoes and relax, burning incense dotted around the room completes the look and rewinds you back to the 1970s.
Terry Johnson, the writer, plays himself and takes you on a journey which is part play, part tribute to, part audience with and part eulogy. The tales are about the real life maverick Ken Campbell and how a chance phone call impacted on Terry’s life and future path. Terry delivers most of his lines from a lectern centre stage and admits that not all of the stories and anecdotes are “entirely true”. He hints that the most unlikely of stories are the ones that are actually based on true events. Terry reads his lines from a script in a monotone voice that lacks enthusiasm. It is only when he steps away from the lectern and seems to ad lib that his story comes to life and you can see the passion and respect he had for Ken.
Jeremy Stockwell plays the maverick Ken Campbell. He is the polar opposite of Terry – jumping around the stage with a hyperactive, manic energy that you can imagine was difficult to squash and even more difficult to work with. He plays the part well and is able to switch roles with a remarkable ease.
Fans of Ken Campbell and those knowledgeable about his work will enjoy this show, as many in the audience certainly did. Those who aren’t may find some of the stories uncomfortable to listen to, especially in the current climate with revelations of inappropriate behaviour within the entertainment industry making front page headlines.
Reviewed by Angela East
Photography by Robert Day
The Bunker until 24th February