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I Am Not Myself These Days

Tom Stuart in I Am Not Myself These Days Tom Stuart in I Am Not Myself These Days
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Adapted from the autobiography of Josh Kilmer-Purcell, I Am Not Myself These Days recounts the television star’s early days working as an ad executive by day and then transforming into the drag queen Aquadisiac at night. Fuelled by vodka, Kilmer-Purcell enters into a destructive relationship with a crack-addicted sex worker called Jack. The honeymoon period is inevitably short-lived and Josh realises that in order to survive, Aquadisiac must be retired for good.

Tom Stuart’s adaptation of the original work not only captures the energy and danger of the New York club scene in the 1990s but also its ephemeral quality. Aquadisiac may initially appear as a fragile alcohol-soaked creature, blinking at the bright lights through over-mascara’d lashes, but she is strong enough to survive the terrain and thankfully sane enough to know when to jump ship.

To support this, Stuart’s performance is breathtakingly physical, lurching from bar to crack den as Josh’s life spirals further and further out of control. The quieter moments represent recovery and it is here that Stuart injects a sense of humour and hope, as gradually Aquadisiac and Josh go their separate ways. Nick Bagnall’s direction is clean and focused but it’s Stuart who owns this play.

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A well-constructed adaptation of a brutal story told with energy and compassion