Brighton Fringe 2008
Up The Gary
Bad Penny Theatre (in association with Theatre503)
Venue: Upstairs at the Three and Ten
Festival: Brighton Fringe
From Top of the Pops to Bottom of the Barrel, The Rise and Fall of an Ordinary Gary Glitter Impersonator.
A nervous man sits on a park bench awaiting his audience. This sets the scene for the Up the Gary. The 50-minute production is a one-man show about Sam Barker, a sad, and lonely soul who finds confidence through his love for Gary Glitter, but with the Glam Rock Star’s own demise, poor Barker becomes a pariah to his friends, family and supporters.
The play is captivating fromthe outset, with Andrew Barron playing all of the characters brilliantly, it develops into an immensely believable story. It raises the interesting question, whether it is the fall of his idol that breaks Barker, or in fact the destitute and negative personalities in Sam’s life? I am inclined to think it is the latter.
Performed on a tiny stage, with a brick wall backdrop, there is a simply a park bench, a microphone and a Gary Glitter outfit for props, but there was no struggle in bringing this story to life. Teamed alongside the impeccable timing of music and lighting, the entire show leaves the audience in no doubt of the location, time and characters. The passion of Barker is completely infectious, which is perhaps, why, when he is left where he begun, on a park bench, it feels truly gut wrenching. By the end, you may not like the fallen rock star still but you will undoubtedly empathise with Sam Barker. And his Gary Glitter impression wasn’t bad either.