I Am Not Myself These Days

Written and performed by Tom Stuart
Directed by Nick Bagnall
Liverpool Playhouse Studio
2nd - 6th February 2016

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

This adaptation of the autobiography of Josh Kilmer-Purcell's I Am Not Myself These Days recalls the television star's - I am afraid I had never heard of him before! - period when he worked in America as a advertising executive in his day job and as a drag queen called Aquadisiac in the night time.

While doing this he endured a traumatic relationship with a crack cocaine addicted sex worker called Jack, while he himself had serous drink problems.

His life was heading for the gutter and he slowly began to realise he had to get his life in order, and the way to do this was to cease playing the alter ego of Aquadisiac.

Tom Stuart, who performed this piece at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last summer, accurately conveys the thrills and, at the same time, the perils of being involved in the New York club culture in the 1990s.

He/she comes across as a vulnerable, highly self-conscious sot, but beneath the mascara, false eyelashes and glittery dress, Kilmer-Purcell has the wherewithal to know when enough is enough and to quit this masquerade.

The 75 minute performance sees Stuart cleverly convey Kilmer-Purcell's black times in his life, for example, constantly switching from being in bars getting smashed out of his head and hanging round with crackheads. The sordidness of this lifestyle is realistically portrayed.

In a very symbolic touch near the end of this one-person performance, Stuart takes off his drag queen garb and then dresses into conventional clothing worn by a man, indicating he has stopped performing.

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