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This Is Not Culturally Significant review at the Bunker, London – ‘funny and bittersweet’

This Is Not Culturally Significant at the Bunker Theatre, London. Photo: Bessell McNamee Adam Scott-Rowley in This Is Not Culturally Significant at the Bunker Theatre, London. Photo: Bessell McNamee
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This Is Not Culturally Significant is a one-man show performed by a nude man. But there’s more to it than shock value and provocation. The use of nudity is at once confrontational and an act of vulnerability – it lets the remarkable Adam Scott-Rowley clothe himself in voices.

Smeared in white powder, Scott-Rowley cycles through a morbid menagerie of characters. The first of these is a nasal American cam girl masturbating with her legs spread. While this might seem crude, the tone soon shifts. Other characters include a homeless, crack-addicted Glaswegian woman and a pompous spiritualist professor.

There are times where Scott-Rowley appears possessed, his expressive face contorting into new shapes. We meet a lesbian songstress in mourning for her late wife, a young gay man, a miserable housewife with an emotionally abusive husband, and many others. Seemingly disparate and often played for grotesque laughs, the characters’ stories often overlap. A haunting sadness unites them.

Simple, striking lighting design, and an almost empty set allows these ghosts to fill up the stage. Scott-Rowley’s caricatures have a League of Gentleman preposterousness to them, but this is often tempered by the harrowing subject matter. Sex – grim, unfulfilling, one-sided – death, queerness and the terrible pain of love binds all of these people together.

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A shocking, funny and bittersweet one-man show crammed with characters