Tilda Swinton Answers an Ad on Craigslist ☆☆☆☆☆ The Vault Festival
Walt (BYRON LANE, who also wrote the script) is at the end of his tether. He hates his job, his cheating boyfriend has dumped him, and the burger he just had delivered has pickles on it, which he hates and specifically asked not to have. Despairing of ever being happy he decides to top himself and reaches for the pills. Just then, a vision appears in a beam of white light hitting the back of the auditorium: a blonde alien in a bubble-wrap cloak, waltzes down the central aisle and onto the stage, and into his apartment, announcing she is moving into the spare room she saw advertised on Craigslist.
It’s actor and celebrated weirdo, Tilda Swinton, played by the mesmerically hilarious Tom Lenk, in a role he manifests, as Tilda herself would say. Tilda’s here not to save Walt’s life, necessarily, but to cannibalize his very existence for her next film role. She desperately wants another Oscar (“Can you believe I have the same amount of Oscars as Mo’Nique?”) and is merciless in her portrayal of Walt as a “white, middle-class victim”.
Whilst the supporting cast get some great parts and great lines, this is Lenk’s show (the audience are invited to have their photograph taken with Tilda after the show). The writing is laugh out loud funny as Tilda’s eccentricity is portrayed and affectionately sent-up. Her gnomic statements (“Pickles are an affront to cucumbers”, “My mother may or may not have been the Loch Ness Monster”) reminded me of the Twitter account @NotTildaSwinton and had the audience in stitches.
As Tilda’s dissection of Walt’s life progresses, and his relationships with the vain and shallow ex-boyfriend, his repressed, cold father, and his bitter, disappointed mother are laid bare, the play moves to a nice feel-good ending as Walt becomes the hero of his own existence and not the loser, and decides he does have a life to live, after all. Tilda becomes Life-Giving Goddess, not fame-hungry celebrity.
With not a dull moment in sight, this is NOT one to miss.
https://vaultfestival.com/whats-on/tilda-swinton-answers-an-ad-on-craigslist/ Until February 12th 2019
Review by Jonathan Kemp
Queerguru London Correspondent Jonathan Kemp writes fiction and non-fiction and teaches creative writing at Middlesex University. He is the author of two novels – London Triptych (2010), which won the 2011 Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award, and Ghosting (2015) – and the short-story collection Twentysix. (2011, all published by Myriad Editions). Non-fiction works include The Penetrated Male (2012) and Homotopia?: Gay Identity, Sameness and the Politics of Desire (2015, both Punctum Books).