Choose Your Own Documentary

JournalArt & Culture

Choose Your Own Documentary

Performer's imaginative concept worth obsessing over...

Remember that ’80s phenomenon (fad), Choose Your Own Adventure – Edward Packard’s children’s ‘game-books’, where the destiny was in your hands? I was partial to perusing the odd one or two; however, writer/poet/magician/all-round literary creative Nathan Penlington is obsessed with them. Obsession is something Penlington does very well – his last major solo show, Uri & Me, centered around his obsession with a certain infamous ’70s “psychic”… the obsessee curiously turning the obsessor.

The show won him countless accolades, and the difficult-to-categorise artist was soon at it again – when a chance finding of a diary, within a Choose Your Own Adventure book, led Penlington to further obsession. Not wanting to give too much away – the trailer below is a must-watch – a film crew of Fernando Gutierrez De Jesus, Nick Watson and Sam Smaïl set about documenting Nathan’s quest to find out more; and the result, spanning four continents and eighteen months, is now a multi-thread documentary with over 1,500 possible versions and endings.

An initial run in July was rapturously received, tears even shed – since then Penlington and his crew have been editing, altering, tweeking and further obsessing, and the results are set for a five night run from 6th November through 10th November; once again at the Southbank Centre. Funny, heart-warming, and utterly bizarre – there’s very few people today pushing the envelope of stand-up, performance and documentary making quite like this… Nathan Penlington really is a name to watch.

Choose Your Own Documentary
Choose Your Own Documentary Choose Your Own Documentary Choose Your Own Documentary

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