John Claire is a patient in a mental asylum but he once was a successful poet, lauded by critics and public alike. His words now only fall on the deaf ears of his therapists, stagnating in an austere asylum he dreams of emancipation, of fresh air, open fields and his childhood sweetheart Mary. And so we embark on blistering journey across the English countryside, never quite sure what is real and what is not, what is past, present or pure fantasy, as our perception is filtered through the fractured lens of John’s psyche.
David Kellar’s one man performances manage to simultaneously conjure a vivid mental and geographic landscape. Seething poetry through clenched teeth, he laments the altering countryside under siege by industrial development, the silent terror of foot and mouth and the insulting bureaucratic nature of modern farming, where a field lying in fallow can be more profitable than one sewn and harvested.
But it is Mary that troubles him most, her face is imprinted on every person he meets and warps the landscape he treks across with blistered feet that climaxes in a burning pyre of animal waste. Ultimately David Kellar’s performance poignantly crafts a forlorn ode to a lost love and a lost land.
Simon Patrick Biggs