Review: Adam Strauss: Varieties of Religious Experience, Royal Mile Tavern

Adam Strauss
Adam Strauss
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This is not stand up, warns Adam Strauss. And it is not, it is storytelling of the highest order. It is fascinating, gripping, personal stuff. If there is a problem with this show it is that, such is the passion and lyricism of Strauss’s performance, if there were a dealer at the door, no-one would leave the venue without having bought some form of powerful hallucinogenic drug to try.

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Adam Strauss has obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). His descriptions of living with the condition and its effects are as funny as they are tragic. Buying an iPod, what shirt to wear each day, what side of the pavement to use… tiny decisions are huge to a man with an obsession about making the perfect decision every time. And then Strauss meets Grace, a woman he sees on Times Square. His story, their story, and his descriptions of their mushroom- and mescalin-fuelled travels within their own psyches is utterly, absolutely absorbing.

This is no boasting boy showing off about the number of drugs he has taken. This is a hugely intelligent, highly articulate man describing extraordinary experiences that most of us will never have. He makes a powerful case for exploring the use of psychotropic drugs to control conditions such as OCD. Along with the extraordinary “travelogues” we get a love story, a life story and a warning about just how time consuming and difficult it is to distil mescalin from raw cactus. Strauss is an incredibly engaging performer – relaxed but somehow intense.

He’s not cured of OCD, but has it under control enough to perform in front of a curtain that had come off its hooks and was dangling down and brushing his head – I began to get a bit twitchy about it myself.

This is yet another gem to be found on the Free Fringe. The tiny back room of the Royal Mile Tavern was crammed with people in a sauna-like heat. But we were all entranced by Strauss and his story.

Until today, 6:10pm.