Remembering David Bowie

From Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads - courtesy of Ben Hopper
From Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads - courtesy of Ben Hopper

Don’t expect the obvious tracks as From Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads brings the music of David Bowie to Brighton.

As writer Adrian Berry says: “If you come expecting a juke-box musical, you will be disappointed.”

Adrian is promising instead much subtler pleasures, a play with music which offers a personal tale wrapped up in a tribute to David Bowie and an exploration of Bowie’s London.

The piece plays The Old Market, Brighton on January 23-25 ( in the latest incarnation of a play which first saw the light of day in 2000.

“I wrote a really old version of the play a few years ago and sent it to David Bowie. It was more of a conventional play at the time and had a cast of seven originally. We sent it to Bowie and amazingly he read it and sent his blessing. He communicates through his people, but we did get an email from him wanting us to film it and wishing us luck.

“He sent people to the rehearsal and we started getting featured on his website.

“This was the year 2000 and it did a little run in Edinburgh in a small venue and then also a little 50-seater in London, and that was it basically.

“It was my first play, but I always knew I wanted to do something more with it as I grew as a writer.

“I had always stayed in touch with Alex Walton, the actor, and we got together in around 2015.

“I started to rework it as a solo piece.

“I had moved away in my own personal work from conventional plays, I suppose. I became much more interested in the possibilities of solo performance.

“You can take the audience backwards and forwards in time and you can create multiple characters.

“I was just interested much more in the whole idea of physical story-telling.

“So I was working on it, and then David Bowie died, and we stopped. I didn’t want to be seen to be jumping on the band waggon or taking advantage.

“Straightaway there were so many bad tributes out there, and I didn’t want to be part of that. But I had already started the conversation with Bowie’s people, and they said ‘There is enough (rubbish) out there. You should keep going.’”

The piece is now on its third tour, a piece which converges three separate stories.

Martin, a young man who lives in a small Northamptonshire village, struggles with mental-health issues.

“When he receives an unexpected gift on his 18th birthday, he goes to London following his obsession with Bowie where he is propelled on a surreal and thrilling journey.

“He performs on the stage where Ziggy Stardust was born, finds himself in Bowie’s bedroom and is led on a treasure trail to discover the truth about himself and his family. What follows will change his life forever...”

The show brings together Martin’s story, the story of how David Bowie became David Bowie and takes a journey across Bowie’s London.

“It has got a lot of Bowie’s music in it, but it is very specifically used. It is not the obvious things that you would expect.

“It is not a juke-box musical. It is 75 minutes of very physical story-telling which is also an homage to David Bowie.

“The music was very important to me, but rather than just saying ‘I am going to use these ten tracks’, it was a question of working out which tracks were needed in those particular moments in the play.”