An artfully-embellished one-man show with sleuthing, vermouthing, and a mimed penny-farthing chase. Comedy for those who keep their brow high and their bow tied.
Bennett Cooper Sullivan, gentleman-adventurer (and rakish raconteur), would much rather be off on an expedition to the distant, dangerous regions of the globe, mapping jungles, racing rhinos, and dining on galapagos turtles. Instead, he’s back in another Dublin drawing room, recounting his latest adventure to thrill society dowagers with far too little excitement in their lives (and far too much money) into bankrolling his next one. On this occasion, however, the city offers a few thrills of its own, as Sullivan becomes the accidental witness to a mysterious murder.
He plunges into an urban underworld of corruption and blackmail, cheating death countless times and damn-near losing a cufflink in the process. The trail eventually leads to a scandal at the highest rung of politics that will change the destiny of a nation. This imaginative twist on a remarkable chapter of history glides from the gilded bon-mots of the drawing room, to the blood-and-thunder re-enactment of events, in a masterclass of physical storytelling. A few useful pointers on evading creditors, moustache-waxing, and umbrella-to-umbrella combat are thrown in for good measure.
Early Grave, Fashionably Late is an unabashed homage to the suicidal daring of great explorers like Shackleton, Livingstone, and Charles Sturt, as well as the wonderful words of writers such as Arthur Conan Doyle, Jules Verne and Oscar Wilde, with all the style of an exquisite three-piece tweed suit.
Early Grave, Fashionably Late debuted at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, then dazzled at the Wexford Spiegeltent Festival in 2015 before journeying to the Antipodes in 2016, playing at The Butterfly Club as part of their curated summer program (complete with signature cocktail) and Smith's Alternative, Canberra.
"A really well-performed and funny piece of character storytelling that I would recommend to anyone interested in an in-depth yarn."
"The closest experience I've had as a theatregoer to watching a Victorian period action blockbuster movie."
"He creates a wondrous world with the most colorfully-crafted language I have heard in a while: it's almost word-porn."
Christopher Samuel Carroll
Alexander JE Bradley
The Arthur Conan Doyle Centre, Edinburgh Fringe
10-29 August 2015
Wexford Spiegeltent Festival
18 October 2015
The Butterfly Club, Melbourne
13-17 December 2016
Smith's Alternative, Canberra
20-22 December 2016
Supported by Smith's Alternative, The Butterfly Club, Perform Australia, and Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centres through the Ralph Indie Development Program.