Writer: Bryony Lavery
Directors: Scott Graham & Steven Hoggett
Reviewer: Marina Spark
The Public Reviews Rating:
Beautiful Burnout, written by Bryony Lavery, is a stunning piece of theatre co-produced by Frantic Assembly and the National Theatre of Scotland. It follows Cameron Burns, a young amateur boxer who turns pro. Along with tracking his journey from novice to “fists of fury” we follow four other hopefuls that attend the same gym. The piece is set on the mean streets of Glasgow and focuses much of its dialogue and action on the hope of the characters to change their circumstances, make some money and get famous. Lavery’s script is full of lyrical rhythm, giving the piece a tumultuous pace that weaves and strikes as much as the physical sparring.
Visually, Beautiful Burnout is awesome. The stage appears to be uncluttered and simple at first glance, however as the play progresses the audience is spoilt by constant surprises when it comes to how much the stage can do. The design by Laura Hopkins is ideal for the piece and supports all the action on the stage perfectly, at times adding even more drama to the already tense scenes. The lighting, designed by Andy Purves, draws the audience in and out of the characters’ psyches with great effect. When all other technical aspects of the show combine with the soundtrack from Underworld, the sound design by Carolyn Downing and the video sequences from Ian William Galloway Beautiful Burnout is elevated to being a pioneer in contemporary, multi-sensory theatre; packing quite a punch.
The cast are mesmerising; all masters at physical theatre. They manage to bob, weave and skip in unison to the electronic soundtrack, but show their physical subtlety in the more mundane but still precisely choreographed moments. Slow motion moments are abundant, and a highly effective tool in aiding the audience’s understanding of the characters’ tactics and frustrations. The characters are all embodied to very high standard, with all actors giving truthful, driven performances.
Beautiful Burnout is well worth seeing if you like high impact theatre that is a knockout on all levels.
Runs until 6th October 2012.
Tags: Andy Purves, Beautiful Burnout, Bryony Lavery, Carolyn Downing, Frantic Assembly, Ian William Galloway, Laura Hopkins, National Theatre Of Scotland, Plymouth, Scott Graham, Steven Hoggett, Theatre Royal, Underworld