Botallack O’Clock

Alex Palmer watches Third Man Theatre’s new production ‘Botollack O’Clock’ at a special press performance, at the Bike Shed Theatre.


Set in the lonely hours of three and four in the morning, there is something special and incredibly intimate about looking in on a man’s bizarre personal rituals. The experience becomes even stranger when the man in question has conversations with himself and admits:

‘For I am not in my perfect mind’.

 This stimulating performance explores the life and inner thoughts of famous abstract painter Roger Hilton CBE. For the last two years of his life, Hilton took permanently to his bed, where a small basement in his cottage became his bedroom, living space and studio.

We see a man who is struggling with drink, lack of sleep and a lost sense of reality.  There are glimpses of a Fowles-esque character; powerful, attractive and self-assured but fading.

Moreover there is a sense that having left the busy High Street of Exeter and made our way down the stairs into the theatre space, that we have literally entered his basement in Botallack.

Listening to his inner most thoughts in a small, enclosed and dark space makes the production particularly captivating.

Although the show is set on one night, it somehow manages to cover a whole man’s lifetime. It includes stories of when he was a student, old songs, childhood memories and glimpses of the past which all work their way to the surface.

The performance even uses actual material from Hilton’s life; letters to his wife and entries from his journals are very funny and cleverly worked into the piece. All of these parts combine to create a vibrant montage of Hilton’s life.

This entertaining performance might possibly change your whole outlook on life; it explores what it means to be human and provokes endless questions from the audience (some that may never be answered!). What more can we ask for from theatre?

Botallack O’Clock was shortlisted for Best Fringe Play 2011, and runs from the Wednesday 26th September 2012 till Saturday 6th October 2012.

Tickets: £10 Adult, £7 Student.