A marvellously bizarre series of sketches inspired by Victorian travelling shows, Edward Gant’s Amazing Feats of Loneliness is a curious miscellany of tricks, jokes and melancholy.
In 1881, the famed and enigmatic impresario Mr Edward Gant presented his renowned travelling show for the final time: a spectacle of grotesquery, tastelessness, black comedy, mystery and magic realism presided over by an opiate-addicted actor. Over a century later, Neilson has reconstructed this intriguing and fantastic historical event. With a cast that includes a girl whose face sprouts pearls and a teddy bear desperate for an imaginary cup of tea, it is a theatrical piece combining the melodrama, extravagance and painful loneliness that characterised a Victorian freak show.
Neilson's play offers a strange and beautiful exploration of sadness and mortality, probing the nature of theatre and spectacle. It was first performed in 2002 at The Drum Theatre at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth.