Take an actor all too often dismissed as a lightweight, connect him to an ageing, once seen as daring writer of reportage, and consider the similarities and differences.
Not an essay question for Media Studies One, but an interpretation of the friendship of Johnny Depp and Hunter S. Thompson. The former stayed in the latter’s bug-infested basement for four months while in preparation for his portrayal of Thompson in the film adaptation of ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’.
Somehow they remained friends.
Here, we meet Depp immediately before the final journey of Thompson, his ashes about to be fired off into space.
It feels, and is perhaps meant to be, an awkward moment. However, recollection takes us almost immediately back to their first encounter, and we’re off on an hour-long trip on the fast machine that is the firework producing relationship of these two.
It’s quite a ride, involving home-made fireworks and firearms, as well as copious amounts of food, drink and drugs, and both actors make the very most of the opportunities they are given. Both play at a rate of knots in some scenes, giving us a whiff of what being around such wild wits may have been like.
‘Hunter and Johnny’ is an experience one encounters rather than a performance one watches, which may well have been how it was conceived and certainly how audience members responded to the performance seen.
It’s first-rate acting from both performers and bang-on-the-nail direction almost all the time, but it’s distressing that a lack of adequate information provision may leave some who deserve to be, uncredited.
Clearly having some of its corners rubbed down on the night seen, this production was still shaping up to merit more than the three stars it is awarded here. If you’ve an interest in either or both of these individual talents, ‘Hunter and Johnny’ may well be the guys to see.
1-25 August, 21.00; £9 (£7)