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Camden Fringe 2009

Adrian Poynton: Stories About People I Used to Know

Adrian Poynton

Venue: The Camden Head, 100 Camden High Street, NW1


Low Down

Upon the rediscovery of an old school picture, Adrian Poynton gets to thinking about his former friends and wondering how they have turned out. By reflecting on their six-year-old personalities, he creates humorous and engaging stories about his subjects’ lives. Adrian Poynton is an exceptionally skilled comic, and he brings energy, observational humour, and spot-on delivery to this tale of imagination and possibilities. 


Adrian Poynton is a very funny man. Well known on the comedy circuit and an award-winning writer, he brings his newest creation “Stories About People I Used to Know” to this year’s Camden Fringe Festival. The premise of the show is this: having lost touch with all of his former classmates, save the few that have contacted him through Facebook, Adrian is curious to know what has become of them. Armed with nothing but his six-year-old school picture and his imagination, he sets out to discover the fate of his childhood friends. His tales take a sometimes-fanciful route, telling of the young boy obsessed with boats that has now sailed to a private island and become King. Likewise, the girl that Adrian married in a daisy chain ceremony on the schoolyard when he was nine has remarried, but still pines for that first, simpler wedding. His troublemaking, foul mouthed, free spirited friend has become a nun, and the girl who broke his six-year-old heart has been horribly and ironically struck down. In the end, he invites his adult friends to re-invent his own future and imagine him as the others in that class picture might. The beauty of inventing the truth instead of taking the trouble to find it out, Poynton argues, is that in his mind people can be whatever he wants and needs them to be. Likewise, if no one knows what has become of him, his life can seem far more interesting and meaningful than it is. 

This is new material for Poynton, and he has structured it well. Some areas need a bit more work; for example, moments when he reads aloud to the audience from emails and pretend diary entries run the risk of dragging on. Overall, though, this is a cleverly thought out and skillfully executed piece of comedy. Adrian Poynton has excellent comic delivery and is adept at engaging his audience in his stories and wry observations. He has perfected the art of gentle self-deprecation, bringing himself to his audience’s level and rendering him extremely likable and charming.  
Contrary to what the title suggests, this is not a show entirely based around Adrian’s childhood stories. Half of the show looks to his past, while the other half finds the humor in his present. Commentary on his new marriage, his career, and his struggles with turning thirty strike a particularly amusing and familiar note. And certainly, the real beauty in Adrian’s creation is that it is so relatable.
Playing through August 23rd at the Camden Head in Camden as a part of the Camden Fringe Festival.