Adam Flood @ Monkey Barrel at The Hive
Reinvention and making sense of our past selves are the crux of Adam Flood’s debut Edinburgh Fringe show
Adam Flood’s debut Edinburgh Fringe show, Remoulded, is all about reinvention. It’s an appealing theme and his story is a good one. From early life in Stoke-on-Trent (drug dealer at 13, then indie band hopeful) to his move south (bar work, office jobs, a job in a start-up), Flood tries to make sense of his multiple selves and the gradual shift away from his working-class roots (from ‘dickhead’ to ‘twat’ in his taxonomy). His gimmick, an autotune pedal, proves to be both an ingenious structuring device and an illuminating metaphor.
Flood’s affability and the energy of the music (courtesy of the autotuner) disguise the sadness of the early sketches of his home town – eccentric characters and a chronically dysfunctional school all marked by poverty – but it’s kept resolutely light. The school stories feel a little conflicted, perhaps because of a worry about sensationalising the material (there's a worry, too, about the presence of a particularly young audience member in the front row).
Flood is plenty sure-footed elsewhere though – wondering about the possibility of real job satisfaction for instance, he alights upon the complacency of a train driver and perfectly inhabits the linguistic tics of a man given too much airtime. The material about trying out different selves through clothing is also very strong: ruing the ‘open toed sandals and tiny trilby’ look, he also remembers a misguided gilet (which prompted the innocent query ‘do you work in a zoo?').
There’s the occasional sense of material being dropped in from elsewhere and not fully meshing with the show’s narrative arc; corporations’ transparent attempts at woke-proofing for example, with ‘non-binary ISAs’ and the like. But the narrative sharpens up near the end, when the structure of the show – and the metaphor of the autotuner – suddenly and satisfyingly becomes apparent.
Adam Flood: Remoulded, Monkey Barrel at The Hive (Hive 2), until 27 Aug (not 15), 3.20pm, £7-£8