In this world premiere of Simon Blow’s fiercely witty and bittersweet debut drama The Past Is a Tattooed Sailor, class struggles, thwarted love, and family destruction collide. Simon is the grandson of aristocratic architect Detmar Blow and scion of a family never far from the newspaper columns, and The Past Is a Tattooed Sailor is unique excursion into a lost world of sparkling aphorism and gloriously eccentric characters.
Past and present are one in the sleeping manor house where Uncle Napier lives in an eternal doze. Upper class boy Joshua has sought out his great-uncle, long taken to his bed and drifting in memories of his glowing adolescence. Joshua is having his own roaring twenties with new builder boyfriend Damien, but the burden of class weighs heavy over the young man, and ghosts from the past cling to him like Uncle Napier’s overwhelming scent.
Uncle Napier draws both boys into his delusions that his own youth has not faded, and that a muscular sailor will give this Sleeping Beauty the reviving kiss. Thus Uncle Napier drifts in reverie. Until the two boys and Uncle Napier are sharply awakened by visits from Joshua’s rich Cousin Patrick. But what sinister thoughts lie behind Patrick’s tight-lipped comments? What exactly is he seeking?
This fictionalised drama draws heavily on Simon Blow’s relationship with his great-uncle Stephen Tennant, ‘Brightest’ of the Bright Young Things and renowned socialite.
The show is directed by Jeffrey Mayhew and will run at the London’s Old Red Lion theatre until 27 August 2016.
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