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An obsessive fan's dark tale
Waiting for Gandalf
Durham Empty Shop Wednesday 11th May 2016
Durham City Theatre Thursday 19th May 2016
Brighton Waterfront 2 23rd - 29th May 2016
Sunderland Royalty Theatre Friday 10th June 2016
A new play from north-east playwright Adrian Marks is making its Brighton Fringe début this May. Nominated for Best New Writing in 2014 at the Buxton Fringe, Waiting for Gandalf is a one-man show about Kevin Brook, a fan of the Lord of the Rings camping overnight for Ian McKellan to sign the new movie companion to The Two Towers. But the real reasons for his devotion – underneath his cheery exterior – are some disturbing revelations from his unhappy past.
With Kevin treating the audience as fellow fans in the queue, one might be forgiven for thinking the play is about a obsessive geek who has no life outside of Tolkein ; even refers to Ian McKellan as “Gandalf”. But the audience are taken on a journey where Kevin slowly gives away clues about his life: a job where he's treated as a social reject; a failed relationship with girl he didn't understand; parents who treated his older brother as a favourite; and the teacher he idolised who introduced him to Tolkein in the first place. It is only when Kevin reveals wished his brother dead and got what he asked for that it's discovered just how long old wounds linger.
This play will be performed by Chris Neville-Smith, who came across this play at Live Theatre's 2011 wrtiers' group of which both he and Adrian were members. Occasional writer, occasional director and frequent theatre blogger, Chris began participating in festival fringes in 2013 with three successive shows at Buxton. As well as the nomination for best new writing, Chris gained the Adjudicators' Award at Saltburn Drama Festival for his performance as Kevin.
Chris Neville-Smith said "I've been shying away from making the leap from Buxton to Brighton before, but this was a perfect play to take. Adrian Marks' character of the misunderstood Kevin is something that resonated with me. As well his compassionate portrayal of Kevin, the play covers some difficult issues we don't usually think about, and whilst these issues may be uncomfortable for some in the audience, they are issues we need to talk about more.”
Adrian Marks said "It was not only a challenging piece to write, as my first full one act monologue, but will be challenging to the performer, as it has demands that make it an intricate piece for even the most experienced. Finally it is challenging for the audience, as they have to be prepared to ride the emotional roller coaster of the story of the ring bearer."
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Waiting for Gandalf for the Sunderland show will be free, with a collection for charity afterwards.
Further details are available from: http://chrisnevillesmith.info/