ADAM 'ANTI-GRAVITY' LAKE
She’s about half way up the stairs when she spots him; Adam, languid and smiling, leaning over the railing. His back is arched and graceful, his head tipped to one side...His eyes are devilish and bright, and he raises one eyebrow in mischievous delight when she lets out a low groan. That face of his is all cheekbones and charm and she can feel the force of his gravity as she comes closer – there’s a low swell to his presence, like toying with a magnet, and she leans in closer without realising.
- from 'Centre of Gravity' in At The Stage Door
Adam was one of the first of the new Cats cast members of 2014 whose performance really got my attention the first night I saw them - and I warmed to him immediately, from the first moment he appeared. Alonzo is a character I have always had a soft spot for, so you might say that Adam had an immediate advantage, but you could also look at it another way and say he had a lot to live up to. But whichever way you might choose to look at it, the simple fact is that Adam made a sublime Alonzo and had my attention from the first time I saw him perform. The very first two shows I saw with him as Alonzo I was taken in particular with the humour he bought to the role, particularly as Rumpus Cat, and I loved that he seemed to get that underlying goofiness that exists in Alonzo. I loved how he played him as such an ego and such a poser but also faintly ridiculous, as though some of his confidence was a bit of a bluff. Those first shows I saw of him in Nottingham, it was the characterization he put in which I found myself taken with more than anything, but as I got the chance to watch him more over the course of the tour I started to noticed what a ridiculously talented dancer and acrobat Adam also is - he is so tall that you almost wouldn't expect it of him, but believe me, he was born for it. Adam is so fluid as a dancer, his body just seems to be boneless almost and the effect is a sort of effortlessness and fluidity which is amazing, and honestly, the man has no respect for the laws of physics because his leaps defy belief - hence the name Anti-Gravity Adam quickly sticking in my head! He would clamber and sway around the Junkyard like it was nothing and there were a few specific moments in the show where Alonzo had to rush quickly from one side of the stage to the other before exiting just behind the old car boot, and Adam had this way of doing it that just didn't seem like it should even be possible as he would take this flying leap at the car boot with such momentum that he scaled the slope of it in a split second before breezing off like it was nothing. The first time I saw him, he got to perform Bill Bailey's flips (as a stand-in when the understudy couldn't) and my jaw just dropped watching him - even after seeing all his leaps throughout the show I still somehow hadn't been expecting him to be so incredibly springy and agile. Flips performed by Adam are so incredibly impressive before of those long, flexible limbs of his - but then everything he does is incredible because of his natural sinewy movement. As a performer Adam is just amazing to watch, but offstage? Total Sweetheart.
The first time I got the chance to actually speak to Adam properly was in Llandudno - he won my heart completely when we were talking about the leap forward Alonzo does in Jellicle Songs For Jellicle Cats when he springs to the front row after being second row on the pyramid at the tyre and he told me how much he loved doing that and promised to really come at me with it on the other nights I was in. It was a promise he kept faithfully and every single night, when I sat in the front stalls, we would make eye-contact during the pyramid and he was RACE towards me on that leap, really going for it every time. Adam is sweet and funny that way and there hasn't been a single time at stage door where he's not managed to make me smile or laugh about something, he's jokey and sweet and lightly teasing, though he's just as happy to tease himself as he is to tease his castmates. There's just something genuinely delightful about Adam and he's such a very open, friendly person that talking to him always leaves you smiling. He definitely has an Alonzo streak in him though - one time in Canterbury I waited longer at a stage door than I ever had before, because I was still there when the announcement was made that the stage door was about to be locked for the night! And guess who I was waiting for? Adam, of course! Every person who went past rolled their eyes when I told them, and fondly went "He's doing his hair" and when he finally appeared himself and apologised for my wait, I told him it was fine as I knew it was Alonzo's prerogative and he laughed before striking the most glorious little pose with a bevelled foot and an Alonzo pout! He's just got a magnetic personality and a warmth that draws you in - he's gorgeous, of course, but it's his charisma and his smile which most makes you want to be around him.
If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promise of life, as if he were related to one of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away.
― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
Honestly, I simply adore this sweetheart. Adam is one of those people who makes me want to write about theatre people so much, because he has that magic about him, that impossibly captivating aura that doesn't entirely leave him just because he's stepped offstage. I could watch him perform as Alonzo all day and not get bored - I would honestly watch him in a one-man-show of 'Alonzo spends a day alone in the Junkyard' and still be sitting there in awe. Offstage, he's magnetic and charming, just all the best bits of Alonzo! And I love his poise and grace. He's the first one who, when I sat down with my programme before my first post-cast-change show in 2014 and started trying to get my head around the new people, I instantly was drawn to: "Oh yes, he's definitely a Lonzo!" was followed with agreement from my mum and then I think I followed that up with something silly about cheekbones and the importance of bone-structure to the role of Alonzo! I would challenge anyone to deny the man's grace in his leaps and his acrobatics and I would also challenge anyone to not watch him during the slinky and sassy moments he captures so well onstage - but also, I cannot stress enough, he gets the absurdity of Alonzo too and he didn't half make me laugh with his antics! His gentleness and his kindness offstage is so warm and genuine - he is a human Alonzo in so many ways but he's a lot sweeter and much more polite than his feline counterpart. He's captivating in this gentle, quiet way which kind of makes you want to lean in closer, with his gorgeous soft voice and his sparkling, friendly eyes, he just makes you want to be around him. He's a superstar in a more understated way than you might expect, I guess, given how good he is at capturing the larger than life onstage. I often think of theatre people as 'firework people' - but not all of them are the big, sparkly, exploding kind, some are the bright, slow-burning, hypnotizing kind and that's Adam I think; mesmerizing and charming in every way, graceful and humble but with that extra high-kick of mischievous show-offishness that shines through now and again...yeah, Adam is basically a glorious, stunning human being. And an impossibility of gravitational defiance!