John Partridge: Stripped
Cabaret and Variety
Assembly Checkpoint (V322)
Aug 5th to 26th (Not 8th, 13th or 20th)
***** 5 Stars
There are moments with in the fringe where you come across a performance that is more than the sum of the art it uses to tell its story, ‘John Partridge Stripped’ is one of those and is a true jewel of the festival and deserves to be seen by the masses for it will truly change your view on the power of theatre.
Stripped, is West End (Cats, Starlight express and Taboo the musical to name but a few) and television (EastEnders among others) star John Partridge’s chance to truly bare his soul as he recounts his journey through life. The hurt, the alcohol abuse, the pain of losing his mother to Alzheimer’s and the joy of the love he has found with his husband Jon Tsouras, along with his passion for MGM classic movies given to him by his father.
Joined on stage by Emma Lindars who provides narrative and vocal support this hour-long performance draws on Song, Choreography (including a beautifully judged tap number) poetry and music that spans both original songs (300 days sober) and numbers from Bowie, Bush and Buckley, these sit alongside side numbers from Hedwig and the Angry inch and La Cage Aux Folles.
Its John’s ability to capture his audience and draw them into his life’s journey that is truly moving to behold, and his use of many beautiful and emotional photographs from his private collection that speaks volumes and are enough to draw tears, Partridge himself states, “This isn’t a pity party” he is so right, its truly a cathartic experience for the performer and for the audience alike, it’s both life affirming and life enriching.
For me what is truly special about this production is we weren’t watching John Partridge the performer putting on a show, but for once in a very rare circumstance we saw a fellow human being admit to his mistakes, watch him reflect on the memories that have shaped him thus far and then the shedding of the pain as he says good by to a part of his life that allows him to embrace the person he was a long time ago. He is indeed, stronger, wiser and more beautiful for that Journey.
John Partridge I thank you for once again showing me what the power of theatre can do, and I hope love continues to shine on you, for the ultimate in an emotionally honest theatre experience get yourself along to assembly checkpoint and be forever changed!
Review by Brett Herriot