Stuart Bowden: Wilting in Reverse

Stuart Bowden’s voice emerges behind a curtain. He tells us that the year is 2084 and that before his death he wrote a story about the last few years of his life when he helped to set up a colony on a distant planet. This is the story we have gathered to hear.

This is meta-theatre at its greatest and an absolute must see show.

Coming onto the stage, script in one hand and a green hat covering his face, Bowden explains how he is going to read this story to us in order to bring Stuart Bowden back to life in this moment. In other words, he will be Wilting in Reverse.

This absurd story narrated through a combination of dialogue, song and movement is one of those performances that in many ways should not work because of its bizarre and surreal nature. However, Bowden has mastered the art of comical looks and improvised one-liners, turning this into a charming and delightful piece which you wish lasted for more than an hour.

Bowden’s persona is so infectious that you cannot help but become swept up in the story. You begin to think about the little one-liners and messages about life which causes this to become a truly deep and meaningful performance.

The beautifully written dialogue and songs along with Bowden’s comical movements, certainly make this a bittersweet show. The atmosphere that is created is one where in one moment you can be laughing at the wordplay of being sat in a building called ‘in this moment’ to crying over what happens to the protagonist in this story. Bowden definitely knows how to pull on the heartstrings and emotions of his audience but what make this even more impressive is his ability to pull and join the audience together.

The audience participation is pure genius and is a delight to watch. His friendly and enticing mannerisms leave many wanting to volunteer to be a part of the show and this adds to the overall comedy and beauty of the performance.

This is meta-theatre at its greatest and an absolute must see show. Stuart Bowden is certainly one to watch for in the future.  

Reviews by Emily Blackwell

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The Blurb

A strangely compelling story with live music, vigorous dance moves, understandable words and a fair bit of profound (probably life-changing) body movement. From the internationally acclaimed maker of Before Us, She Was Probably Not A Robot, Doctor Brown and His Singing Tiger and The Lounge Room Confabulators. Winner of the Adelaide Fringe Theatre Award. 'Truly a breed unto itself' (West Australian). 'Weirdly magical' **** (Scotsman). 'An isolated fringe species who defies theatrical logic and description' ***** (Adelaide Advertiser).