Review: Licence, by Jonathan Brown

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Licence by Jonathan Broawn

Like many of the performances showcased at The Brighton Fringe, Jonathan Brown’s one-man show Licence is a voyage into the extraordinary.

During the evening the audience bears witness to (at times uncomfortably authentic) portrayals of alcoholism, materialism and excess… And is introduced to the topics at hand via an array of likely characters – each of whom – are convincingly portrayed by Brown alone!

Brown begins as lively publican Bernie and subsequently morphs in and out of practised portrayals of his other associates throughout.  We make the acquaintance of brash wife Brenda, morally inquisitive son Teddy, target-driven brewery rep Donna, thuggish regular Ronnie… and many more besides!  Once the introductions are over, a clash of values and an unfortunate sequence of events see Bernie’s fated delusions of running a cosy family local unravel before our eyes…

The hook of Licence might well be to witness the tackling of this gang of characters (and it is a truly remarkable feat) but in truth; Brown allows each personality to appear on stage with such ease that they merely become a consummate vehicle for a more meaningful exposition of the perils of excess.

Although this is a tenet by which Brown himself lives his life, the piece forcefully portrays an image with which anyone who has entered a pub on a Saturday night in Brighton can identify!  Brown’s personal antipathy towards alcohol at times leads to an intense and disquieting performance, however this also gives an added credibility to the piece and makes for a truly memorable tour de force.

Catch it before Brown calls time!

For information of upcoming performances of Licence and Jonathan Brown’s other work visit www.jonathan-brown.co.uk. The Brighton Festival runs until the 23rd May, more details on the festival website, www.brightonfestivalfringe.org.uk

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