Will Adamsdale’s standup/solo performance creation Chris Jackson is a motivational speaker and life coach, and the audience is at his seminar to learn his life changing methods. Jackson’s Way: The Christmas Top-Up Power Seminar! teaches you the importance of attempting meaningless or impossible actions, or “jactions”, in our lives that are otherwise filled with purpose. Adamsdale’s script has a clear narrative but somewhat lacking in follow through – we never really learn precisely WHY we should be filling our time with jactions, but the character’s detailed biography and emotional journey through the Christmas story is satisfyingly seasonal.
Just so you know, jactions have levels, can be compounded and done in groups or individually. You know you’ve succeeded when you have a mild feeling of nausea but manage to Push Through It (PTI). Some of Jackson’s most famous jactions include trying to move the floor, preventing a thrown towel from hitting the ground, and making your hand be in two places at once. The absurdity and existentialism are wonderfully funny, as is the conviction with which Adamsdale gets the audience to attempt jactions.
The autobiographical storyline and the use of projections add to the theatricality of the piece, as does Adamsdale’s immersion in the character he created and his sudden change of mood. Though the structure seems pre-formatted some of the content is improvised and there’s loads of audience interaction.
The ending is rushed but generates plenty of laughs with the character’s narcissism and has a degree of resolution. A bit more time on end and clearer goals for the seminar premise would give this already polished piece of performance more finesse, but it definitely isn’t lacking in humour that functions on multiple levels.
Adamsdale is clearly a skilled, charismatic (and sweaty!) performer with an innate sense of comedy and stage presence, as it should be for such a seasoned performer. Though English, his American accent is flawless. Running for over ten years now, it’s no wonder that Jackson’s Way has staying power in the performance and comedy circuits, and Jackson’s Way: The Christmas Top-Up Power Seminar! is a great variation on usual holiday theatre offerings and a reminder to enjoy the frivolity of Christmas rather than stressing out over its logistics.
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