For those trying to guess or track some sort of rhyme or reason to the theatre going habits of Augusta Supple – it could appear as compelling a question as where does the other go when it’s missing, or even how did even the most unpopular types of apples get so expensive?

Well, one thing remains certain – I am inspired by people and ideas – and I listen to what is buzzing around me – I hunt out new work, I hungrily scan facebook for show suggestions (usually through Status updates, not usually through event invites) – voraciously searching for art, entertainment, instruction – whatever I need theatre to be on that particular night of the week.

Daniel Kitson came as a recommendation at PlayWriting Australia’s National Play Festival when in a foyer casually chatting with man about town (and the whole country it seems) Caleb Lewis. Caleb has a piercingly astute mind and a love of theatre, and stand up comedy (and experience in both) but centrally driving at his work is a love of story. So it’s not really a far fetched punt to take a recommendation from Caleb. So I booked tickets, roped in an English gent as a seating companion to see Daniel Kitson at The Seymour Centre.

The blurb goes along the lines of:
“Gregory had fifty-seven letters to write. He’d never written that many letters, not in one go. In fact, he’d never written a single letter and it was taking significantly longer than he’d anticipated. He’d started, full of optimism, curiously enough, at 9am and now here he was 8 hours later half way through letter twenty four. He glanced at his watch and then at the noose hanging over his head.

Gregory sighed.

Had he known how long suicide letters take, he thought, he wouldn’t have cancelled the milk for the morning.

The story of a death postponed by life.”

It sounds bleak. Like difficult emotional terrain. Like it is designed to make the audience laugh at its own sick and morose voyeurism at someone’s bleak outlook. But truly for me this is a story about the transformative and sustaining power of the written word. When it comes to performance I am absolutely fantastic at suspending disbelief – I am naive wide eyed and ready to believe absolutely anything… so for me I was happy to believe that this is a true story – I’m more than happy to accept the bizarre and the unbelievable. Others not so much so. But that is by the by. I think that whether or not you believe the story to be true or to be a work of fiction – the message is the same.

Kitson has performed this show at The Edinburgh Festival, Melbourne Comedy Festival and in various locations around the world – and what is delightful about the presentation is the energy he imbues the story with – Kitson knows this so well – he knows its twists and turns and yet there is no stopping the excited and vivacious roller coaster of “fact” and narrative.

What I love about the story is partially because I am a letter obsessive – in my house there are strings of cards from opening nights, and birthdays and thank yous and just general correspondences that hang in festive garlands in my hall way. I love the personal and intimate nature of letters – and for those who have enjoyed the sets for Brand Spanking New the last few years (deigned by Paul Matthews), you’ll know how much I love paper – I hoard it – papering my office like a nest. And this show speaks to that hoarding aesthetic – in a detective “what-are-the-traces-left-behind” kind of way – and triggers the imagination, stirring other pieces of the puzzle, other realities.

It is a race for information – 90 minutes to impart an adventure of a man who’s life and death was so spectacularly documented. And on this vivacious race to know what happened -the tangents and the tales are explained, interconnected -momentarily broken up by a stutter or a stumble, or a quick quip with an audience member – it feels like he is telling us the latest installment in an English chronicle and we are in the lounge room waiting to hear what happens next – there is no need for props or set or costume – all would merely clutter the tangled threads- the shimmering lines of connection and interconnectedness… the hopeful tension that perhaps love saves him, perhaps life has meaning in words? All of it, a perfect night for sentimentalists with vivid imaginations.

Where ever you are in the world, catch Kitson. He’s a delight.