Sometimes less is more.
His story is as touching as it is harrowing and you can’t help but be swept along by the language.
Barry’s monologue is raw and deeply confessional, encompassing loss, madness, and addiction. At times, the accumulating darkness in Barry’s life seems a little unbelievable – could all this gloom really befall one man? – yet Winter is strong enough to carry it through. He stands, immovable, and spews bitter poetry at the audience like a depressed John Cooper Clarke. The occasional implausibility of Barry’s situation pales alongside Winter’s tightly focussed performance. Barry’s encounters with others – a desperate drive to protect his son from bullies; a woman kissed and never returned to – are described with humanity and, often, informed by a rich, dark humour. His story is as touching as it is harrowing and you can’t help but be swept along by the language.
At times though, the sheer force of the words becomes too much. An occasional pause was needed to allow the gravity of Winter’s words to really sink in. Instead, however, we are barraged with densely packed descriptions of madness that don’t quite give us time to breathe. As a piece of text, Gordon is undeniably impressive, but in a tight, 50-minute performance it feels slightly overwhelming. As a result, whilst the show is unapologetically intense, it doesn’t quite pack the emotional punch you feel it should.
That said, Gordon remains an impressive piece of work and Winter is utterly believable as the man who has lost everything. An uncompromising prose poem, all Gordon needs to remember is that, sometimes, less really is more.