Recently, I read an interview with Ade Edmonson in which he spoke of his desire to be remembered as an actor, rather than as a comedian. It is, after all, comedy which has defined his career thus far: ‘The Young Ones’, ‘Comic Strip’ and ‘Bottom’ have pretty much confirmed his status as a national (comic) treasure.
So, I was interested to see (i) how well he would fare on stage and on his own, being more familiar with him as a TV actor and part of an ensemble, and (ii) how he would cope with much more serious material and an older audience than he might previously have entertained.
I needn’t have worried – as it turned out, he dealt admirably with all of those challenges. ‘Bits of Me are Falling Apart’, as well as being a brave choice for someone who made their name in a show called ‘The Young Ones’, is a moving one-man meditation on life, loss and regret which acts as the perfect showcase for AD’s talents.
True, the play itself, which we saw at the Soho Theatre, is not brilliant (and the critics have savaged it – unfairly, I think).But for an actor to hold an audience in the palm of his hand, on his own, for 80 minutes, is no mean feat – and there are some genuinely poignant moments along the way, as our central character muses upon his failed marriage, much-loved son and how much he regrets spending the earlier part of his life worrying about things which never actually happened.
“Bits of me are falling apart? Of course they are. The miracle is that they stayed together so long.”