This is Not Culturally Significant, The Bunker ****

Gillian FisherCulture, Live Comedy, Theatre, Theatre ReviewLeave a Comment

review of This is Not Culturally Significant

Adam Scott-Rowley faces his audience. Photo by Bessell McNamee

What do a homophobic Yorkshireman, a Glaswegian drug addict and a flatulent theatre producer all have in common?     Answer: Adam Scott-Rowley. In his ebullient one man show, Scott-Rowley introduces us to the myriad of caricatures hatched by his frenzied mind. Morphing form one satirical persona to the next with the grace of a psychotic butterfly, our performer thrills, shocks and titillates. As well as offering some raucous entertainment, the writer cumulatively presents a wry socio-political commentary on 21st century Britain. Also, he’s completely naked.

Solo shows are a notoriously tricky theatre genre, with the full weight of the production resting on a single pair of brave shoulders. Scott-Rowley’s decision to present multiple characters (12 in total) ensures dynamacy and his timely segues keep the action at an accelerated pace. The roles are hyperbolic to say the least. The opening scene sees our star emulating female masturbation as a reclusive webcam girl. The cries of “this stool is so good for my pussy!” sets the tone of carnivalesque gratuity. However, the addition of phone calls from her Bluegrass singing father serves to provide context and a backstory. Herein lies one of the show’s greatest facilities; even the most abhorrent characters present some glimmer of humanity.


A contemplative moment. Photo by Bessell McNamee

Completely devoid of props, the production relies upon the talents of the performer, with some atmospheric lighting by Matt Cater and a few clever sound effects supplied by Graeme Pugh. As the show’s name suggests, the piece challenges the status quo of polished, west end productions by demonstrating the depth and ingenuity of fringe theatre. This is most overt during the scenes involving a vainglorious lecturer lambasting the decline of high culture. Whilst some commentaries are plainly manifest, others are wonderfully subtle, such as the young man desperately seeking loving approval by posing for the camera.


This is Not Culturally Significant

Adam Scott-Rowley in full flow. Photo by Bessell McNamee

The writer’s unclothed status was intended to add a vulnerability to the characters, which it cogently achieves. It also emphasises his physical metamorphis with each role. Our Scottish destitute’s hunched back and flailing arms realign to create the straight shoulders and thrusting hips of our rebellious clubber. Truly a master of transformation, Scott-Rowley has perfected gestures, accents, tics and postures for each of his motley crew. My favourite character was Caroline, the operatic widow warbling a ballad for her late wife. Whilst highly stylised, each role falls into the realm of the familiar, painting a relatable picture of society at large. This is enhanced by the interweaving of the individual tales, which further demonstrates our performer’s skill as he portrays conversations between up to four characters.

Part mimicry, part cabaret and a fair amount of slapstick the show defies any simple terminology. It can however be described as a fantastically engaging and emotionally diverse piece of theatre, as touching as it is comedic. It also demonstrates the ubiquitous nature of the human condition and its power to superseded class, race, religion or gender. Most of all, with its insightful critiques and innovative format, Scott-Rowley’s berserk show remains culturally significant.

Culturally Significant review

To find out more about this production or to book tickets please visit The Bunker Theatre


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Gillian FisherThis is Not Culturally Significant, The Bunker ****