Review: James Rowland’s Revelations at Harlow Playhouse

Entertainment / Sun 9th Feb 2020 at 05:59pm

Harlow Playhouse

Revelations by James Rowland

Harlow Playhouse

THIS is the third time this reviewer has seen James Rowland. Two years ago, we saw (and loved) Team Viking and a year ago we reviewed A Hundred Different Words for Love.

James Rowland is clearly becoming a favourite in Harlow as there were over eighty in the theatre studio and many had seen him before.

Last year, we said there was not enough storytellers like James on the circuit and we meant it. This reviewer works at the Edinburgh Festival most years and reviews comedians, theatre, musicals and dance but very few (if any) storytellers.

James chats to the audience before the show starts and one day, an “in conversation/improvisation” with James would be most welcome. That’s probably called the pub!

Part of his pre-show chat also includes a piece of advice. There will be total nudity.  As it was a one-man show we narrowed it down.

The show has a similar rhythm to the previous shows or perhaps it just feels this way. There is always a sense of hope but foreboding. In fact at one point, James wickedly plays upon that.

There is alway a feeling of love between friends but also that life, inevitably is darn complicated.

There is audience participation but again it is charming and organic.

If there is one constant it is that James feels like an outsider in his own life, in his own stories. Perhaps there could be a companion piece by other artists where James figures? However, maybe there is an existential honesty in James’ work where we are and feel, a lot, on our own.

Towards the end of the show, James removes all his clothes. It was part of the story and he stays that way until the end. He should bring the show to Edinburgh as it used to always be the case that they would wheel out a Conservative female councillor to be “shocked and appalled”. You couldn’t buy publicity like that!

The audience really enjoyed the performance of Revelations as they were drawn in for the whole seventy minutes. The ending (not because of the nudity) might need looking at but overall another wonderful performance by James Rowland.

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