As Adam Hess announces himself from just behind the curtain, he notices one man watching him.
As he opens up his show he remarks that this must be like hearing an intercom announcement at a supermarket, and then spotting the staff member with the microphone who is making it: “I’ve seen God!”
There are more references to God throughout Seahorse. A couple derive from jokes about wishing to be God, and the remainder are rooted in Hess’ childhood, which is the main focus of the show. Hess explains early on that financial circumstances have forced him to move back in with his parents. He’s been digging up both old memories and photos in the attic – which we are treated to via slide projector – which each provide a wealth of hilarious and often very bizarre material.
Hess’ style is hyper-energetic and hyper-tangential. His words and ideas are rapid fire zaps. He’s constantly interrupting his own sentences, probably leaving more left broken than complete. Despite this, it’s surprisingly easy to follow him, helped by the fact his many disparate stories revolve around the family home. One particularly interesting thread describes the queer urges Hess felt as a child, and how his parents confusedly tried to repress them. This links up with a tale of a party full of old school friends, one of whom is the first boy Hess ever fell in love with. Hess doesn’t present his bisexuality as a big reveal or a big deal. Rather, it is a natural progression in his story, which proves there is some structure in its scattered form.
It isn’t clear why Seahorse is called Seahorse, but Hess is hilarious, odd, and charming. I highly recommend his slightly askew view of the world .
Adam Hess: Seahorse, Pleasance Courtyard, 17-26 Aug, 4.45pm