Written by acclaimed playwright, Francis Poet, Adam is based on the true story of Egyptian trans man Adam Kashmiry. We follow him through his struggles not only with his own identity, but also in the realisation that for the sake of his survival he would have leave the country.
He arrives in Scotland, but not without significant cost: the solitude of a different country, the distance (physical and emotional) from his family, and the physical trauma of altering his body.
While the original 2017 production had Kashmiry himself in the leading role, this Australian premiere has Juan Gomez playing Adam. Sharing the stage is Oliver Ayres, who plays a multitude of characters within Adam’s memories, fears, and desires.
A nice touch by Poet is aligning Adam’s journey with the anti-government protests that became the Arab Spring, a gentle yet effective parallel story of a body dealing with internal unrest, discovering its voice and the power and consequence of speaking out when once it had been silent.
Jac Arncliff’s design for Adam’s psyche was a nice gallery-like scattering of television screens and mannequin parts. There are limbs and torsos in pieces, as well as partly mismatched constructions. There’s a palpable raw, immediacy to the text, calling to mind other creative-biographical works such as those from Melbourne artist, Jaime Dörner (see Project Exiles, 2018).
Some of that sophistication is similarly found in both performances from Juan and Oliver, despite some laboured pacing and occasional vapid blocking. Otherwise despite some minor flaws, Adam proved a fascinating watch with strong storytelling and insight.
Studio Theatre – Gasworks Arts Park, 21 Graham Street, Albert Park
Performance: Wednesday 5 February 2020
Season: 4 – 8 February 2020 (closed)
Image: Juan Gomez features in Adam (supplied)
Review: David Collins