Flowers for Algernon: Etcetera Theatre, Camden

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The Etcetera Theatre has adapted Daniel Keyes’ novel Flowers for Algernon into a captivating one-man show.

The plot follows Charlie, a simpleton who has experimental surgery which rapidly increases his intelligence. Initially oblivious to the abuse he suffered from his mother and colleagues, he soon starts to realise as his intelligence improves. The story powerfully demonstrates how superior intelligence can be an alienating curse, infinitely worse than his previous mental disability.

Camden’s The Etcetera Theatre is one of London’s most respected pub theatres. Situated above The Oxford Arms on Camden High Street it has a unique and intimate atmosphere. The Guardian described it as, “one of London’s best pub theatres.” Since 1986 it has hosted the best of the London Fringe, championing new writing and emerging performers.

I had no idea how this book would be adapted but was intrigued when I realised this was a one-man show. This makes perfect sense as the book was a series of diary entries from Charlie detailing his experiences. Attila Gonczy gives a captivating portrayal of Charlie and wonderfully demonstrates his wildly erratic and unstable journey with an astonishingly physical performance. He took over the entire stage and it was impossible to avert your gaze from him. This play had a successful run in Hungary earlier this year and Atilla Gonczy’s distinctive voice gives Charlie an other-worldly feel and demonstrates again just how different and isolated Charlie is.

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I won’t give away too much about the story, but Daniel Keyes refused his publishers request to give it a happy ending. The ending is heart-wrenchingly tragic but extremely poignant. The play is a great interpretation of a classic novel.

It will be performed on 1st and 3rd November and you should definitely grab some tickets to this great production before they sell out. Tickets are a bargain at £11.50 and can be bought here.

Please share this piece with anyone who you think will be interested in it and support this great theatre.

You may also be interested in my review of murder mystery A Stab in The Dark.

Written by Martin Stocks| @Stocks1986

Read Martin’s comedic blog ‘How to Man-Manage your Manager in a job you hate’