One Hand Clapping IABF

Burgess’ disgust at western decadence and degradation, One Hand Clapping casts a jaded eye over our modern world values.

By Lee Isherwood | 15 March 2013

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A few weeks ago and purely by accident I stumbled across an Anthony Burgess exhibition at John Rayland’s Library, it was great. Newspaper clippings, original scripts, noted screen plays and original artwork had me pretty well hooked for the day. So with that still in mind I checked out the International Anthony Burgess Foundation & House of Orphans new stage adaptation of One Hand Clapping.

Janet (Eve Burley) doesn’t want their lives to change that much – she’s quite happy, working at the supermarket, cooking for her husband Howard (Oliver Devoti) three times a day, watching quiz shows in the evening. But when Howard unleashes his photographic brain on the world, the once modest used-car salesman can’t seem to stop. And what he sees as the logical conclusion isn’t something Janet can agree to. Throw struggling poetic artist Redvers Glass (Adam Urey) into the mix and anything could happen.


Burgess’ disgust at western decadence and degradation, One Hand Clapping casts a jaded eye over our values, drawing a conclusion that still resonates fifty years on.

To coincide with the Serpent’s Tail reissue of One Hand Clapping, Manchester – based House of Orphans and IABF have produced a fantastic theatrical homage to the 1961 novel. With a superb northern cast, this acerbic and comic three-hander explores the darker side of consumerism and the effects of the quest for convenience culture.

The space at IABF is fantastic and with a little bit of raised seating it lent itself perfectly. The set served it’s purpose modestly and with a clever use of lighting provided all the backdrop the actors needed. A personal favourite detail was the use of old television sets to provide a bit of light relief in the form of vintage adverts, aswell as a change of pace with short bursts of narrative played through them. Eve Burley did a fantastic job throughout what is a relaxed yet some how fast paced role, Oliver Devoti’s portrayal of a man struggling with his own memory was delivered brilliantly and Adam Urey’s ‘Redvers Glass’ to my mind combined a 50’s Beatnik poet with a modern day Shoreditch hipster, which worked totally fine for me.

Give them a shout at or – tickets are £8 or £6 conc and it’s well worth checking out.

It’s also worth noting that the IABF cafe is extremely well stocked with a great selection of local ales, just in case you’re partial to that sort of thing like me.

Eve Burley, Oliver Devoti, Adam Urey, Richard Stott.

14th-16th March 2013 – 7.30pm
IABF, 3 Cambridge Street, Manchester, M1 5BY