Review: Jackson’s Way Is Beautifully Pointless
Ever wondered what the point is?
American life coach Chris John Jackson can help you answer that very question by using Holmesian logic: when you have recognised everything pointless in your life, whatever remains, however small, must be the point.
Returning in the new-ish Jackson's Way: The Christmas Top-Up Power Seminar! (at the Battersea Arts Centre until 12 December), Will Adamsdale resurrects part of his Edinburgh Fringe-winning show which he took all over London in 2011 and updates it with some Yuletide extras.
The modestly-titled Jackson’s Way — effectively, a number of intrinsically meaningless tasks called “Jactions” — tries to demonstrate that, even if something apparently defies the laws of physics or lacks a reason, there is something to be said for attempting it. With his ever-endearing brand of bullshit, this brilliantly-realised motivational guru suggests that even (or maybe especially) the most useless of acts could perhaps be seen as the most meaningful.
Entailing much in the way of audience interaction, this homespun philosophy “proves” a number of impossibilities: a towel cannot be levitated by noise alone, one hand cannot be in two places at once and no woman still hung up on her ex could ever let you into her heart. OK, we may have made the last one up but you get the idea.
This is still at heart an incredibly funny show from a comedian who has never been afraid of shaking his moneymaker in new directions — not least TV, film, theatre and public snorkelling — but the seasonal elements here are underwritten and unconvincing and seem tagged on. Sometimes less really is more.
Jackson’s general demeanour (loud, confident, determined) is slowly revealed as the reaction to a broken marriage and failed career. In any other hands, this could be a cloying and sentimental aspect but Adamsdale lets us peek just enough at the tragic poignancy behind the blustery façade.
In a comedy industry replete with wafer-thin character comedy (yes, Dapper, we’re looking at you) or dull-as-ditchwater observational shtick, this show breaks the general mould to give us both belly laughs as well as a rare and welcome emotional connection. By the end we feel that Jackson’s battles are our battles, his victories our victories and, maybe, just maybe, if we all shout loud enough, that a towel can somehow defy gravity. That woman is never going to love you, though.
Jackson's Way: The Christmas Top-Up Power Seminar! continues at the Battersea Arts Centre until 12 December.
Londonist attended on a complimentary press ticket.
Last Updated 04 December 2015