A man is looking out to sea, and waiting for a knock on his door, and he fears he will be taken on a boat ride by the not-so-secret police, and that he’ll be diving deep.
A writer tries to remain true to himself under Fascism. As a Man Grows Younger is a dramatic monologue set in Italy in the 1920s, inspired by the friendship of two writers, Svevo and Joyce, and their roads from obscurity to fame.
My parents gave me the name Ettore Schmitz.
I gave myself the name Italo Svevo.
James Joyce named me Leopold Bloom.
I’m his Ulysses, people are reading about me far and wide,
only they don’t know it’s me when they read his novel.
Press for this production
This is a strong one-man show with a beautiful performance that one should see to remind ourselves that there is also beauty in the non-heroic character. ★★★★ Pocket Size Theatre
This intriguing and absorbing double biography is superbly delivered by David Bromley. He captures Svevo’s ineffectual nerviness and delivers his self-mockery with charm. Kate Bannister directs with an elegant pace leaving space for the words to sink in and for the sheer humour in the piece to twinkle; Karl Swinyard provides a complementary stylish and atmospheric set, and the Fascist marches in Philip Matejtschuk’s sound design hint at the encroaching jackbooted menace. This is a black diamond, classy, dark and appealing. Quite a gem in fact. British Theatre Guide
David Bromley gives a very polished and assured performance as Svevo, a contradictory and eccentric figure… Bromley’s energetic performance, directed by Kate Bannister, means it never feels uninteresting or heavy, even in its darker moments. Karl Swinyard’s set is beautifully detailed in its portrayal of Svevo’s study, complete with a board full of dates and mementos that he frequently refers to throughout the piece, and Philip Matejtschuk’s sound design adds further detail, right down to the ticking of a clock. Despite knowing the very serious potential consequences of taking a stand… we have to respect his courage as a writer – and with moments in the play that feel depressingly current, perhaps be prepared to follow his example. Theatre Things UK
Under the assured direction of Kate Bannister, ‘As A Man Grows Younger’ is both well-acted and well-judged. The play boasts a fine central performance and subtle, dream-like sequences. The technical and design team deserve a great deal of credit, with Karl Swinyard’s bohemian garret, Philip Matejtschuk’s evocative sound design, and William Ingham’s lighting, which helps transform Svevo’s ranting confessions into moments of intrigue and horror. As A Man Grows Younger is a worthwhile play about a compelling life, and one which deserves to be better-known. Svevo’s example shows that, in times of darkness, creating art can be a necessary but dangerous act. I hope that our times, bleak as they are, do not produce similar legacies. London Pub Theatres
a reminder of the power, beauty and necessity of words in a time of crisis. For a man who thought he was about to disappear, Svevo and his story remain more vibrant than ever. Spy in the Stalls
the supporting creative work around the production is first-rate. Designer Karl Swinyard evokes the period clutter of a writer’s study with detailed care, while leaving plenty of zones of movement in which director Kate Bannister creates an ambient fluidity with the performer… The sound and lighting schemes are expertly done: the collective depiction of an uneasy life lived wryly at the margins is delicately and memorably done, reflecting credit on all involved. British Theatre.com