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The Tailor of Inverness | Finborough Theatre

The Tailor of Inverness, written and preformed by veteran performer Matthew Zajac at the Finborough Theatre explores Zajac’s complicated relationship with his father, a tailor who fled war-torn Poland to start a new life in quiet Inverness.

 

With a simple but provocative set, The Tailor of Inverness immediately transports us to the tailoring shop in which his father worked, which, aided by Zajac’s virtuosic performance, also serves as any backdrop needed as the audience is carried through a consistently shifting decades and landscapes.

 

One marvels at Zajac’s performance the way one marvels at an Olympian athlete. While barely stopping to take a breath, his piece packs a lot of life and history into a tight 80 minutes—and one hell of a punch. Portraying his own father (as well as any supporting role needed), Zajac melts away, replaced by not just the ghost of his father, but the full embodiment of him.



The audience does not need to be extremely well versed in the intricacies of World War II history to appreciate the play—Zajac expertly guides the audience, hitting only the important facts and the impact of them. Though the play’s sharp deviation from his father’s story to his own leaves the audience with whiplash and not enough time to quite regain their footing until the end. The play could have easily been a more traditional 90 minutes to help ease the audience in and out of the past and present timelines.

 

However, as the elder Zajac walks us through his convoluted history, it becomes clear that the stories he told his son were muddy and revisionist at best and at the worst—lies. Portraying one’s own parent on stage for a faceless crowd is a special kind of therapy, and watching an actor embody their own parent is just as healing.


We are all children of someone—some flawed human who, for better or worse, made us into what we are. In this way, this is not just a story about Matthew Zajac, but a story about understanding the legacy and wounds we inherit. Zajac’s play is economical, and his performance captivating. Linguistically intricate and laser-focused, it can be easy to forget that Zajac is just one man. He gives a specific and riveting masterclass in storytelling.

 

The Tailor of Inverness runs until 8 June (ironically, his father’s birthday). For more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.

 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4*)


Gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography by Tim Morozzo

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