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Actor goes out on a limb to weave his story

My Arm, Warwick Arts Centre until February 9.

Who is Simon Martin? And why did an ordinary boy on the Isle of Wight decide to spend 30 years with one arm raised above his head?

These are just two of the many questions pondered by writer and actor Tim Crouch in his first play, My Arm.

Before the show Crouch wanders round asking the audience if he him borrow any knick-knacks we happen to have in our pockets. More about this later.

Then, his arm raised, he begins to tell the story of an ordinary boy who is part of an ordinary family growing up in the 1970s.

It's after this things start getting slightly more bizarre.

Because the random items Crouch asked to borrow from us are transformed into his story: a toothbrush becomes Mum's car, an inhaler a father at school, an Action Man figure portrays "the boy" himself.

The same boy who at the age of ten raises his arm and keeps it there for 30 years. The same boy who six years before that had already driven his parents to the point of distraction with his first grand gesture. Crouch calls it "The Great Silence."

Of course, doctors and psychologists try and work out why the boy won't lower his arm - after all it does present certain problems with how to dress and sleep.

Also certain advantages. Like becoming a curiosity of the modern art world before others move in the exploit the situation.

This 60-minute, highly unusual show, successfully combines both art and drama. And though I must admit I had my doubts about going to see it, I came away having thoroughly enjoyed Crouch’s story-telling ability.

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