Hunter and Johnny

Theatre company d’Animate presents this amusing look into the friendship between Hollywood actor Johnny Depp and the late Gonzo journalist, Hunter S. Thompson. Any fans of the movie Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas will be in for a real treat here as the show recounts the true story of Depp’s preparation for the role in the film adaptation of Thompson’s surrealist masterpiece. Living in Thompson’s basement, Depp went on a strange journey with the writer, from which a long lasting friendship was formed.

Even if they don’t exactly look like the people they are playing,the actors have an uncanny ability to bring these figures to life.

The stylized performances of Adam El Hagar as Depp and Sam Coulson as Thompson are exceptionally good. It would be so easy to slip into caricature with such ‘out-there’ figures; they bring a touching humanity to their oddity. There is a great spark of chemistry between the two of them. Even if they don’t exactly look like the people they are playing,the actors have an uncanny ability to bring these figures to life. At one highly amusing post-modern moment, Coulson (playing Thompson) is giving advice to Hagar’s Depp on how to act as Thompson.

It’s a fast-paced, surreal comedy with exceptionally performed movement sequences and inventive use of the space throughout. The writing is excellent and there is a clear understanding of how much research has gone into this piece by the company. It’s a gloriously bonkers ride and ends on a rather touching note. It would be interesting to know what Depp himself would think of the piece, for as far as I’m concerned it captures the essence of two great men, one great novel and one bonkers movie. If you’re a fan of any of them I would highly encourage to see this show. Otherwise you may find yourself a little lost in the references but always entertained by the exceptionally good acting and deliciously absurdist humour.

Reviews by Stewart McLaren

Online at www.DavidLeddy.com (with Traverse Theatre)

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

‘So Johnny, would you like to...shoot something?’ In the spring of 1997, Johnny Depp moved into the basement of literary pioneer Hunter S Thompson's Owl Farm home for four months, in preparation for his role in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. What followed was a submergence into the weird and wonderful world of Hunter. Bombs, drugs, liquor, mining lights and an enduring friendship. d'Animate invite you to follow them into the dungeon with Colonel Depp and Dr Hunter S Thompson. ‘Physical poetry! Exceptional actors. A company to look out for!’ ***** (BroadwayBaby.com).

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