Writer: Bryony Lavery
Director: Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett
Reviewer: Jude Evans
The Public Reviews Rating:
A struggling youth finds safety in a beloved sport, aspires to the heights, faces a knock-back, but eventually gets his chance. This time it’s boxing. On the face of it, we all know the story, and it could all too quickly become predictable. But Bryony Lavery’s play in this co-production by Frantic Assembly and National Theatre of Scotland is given texture, depth and dynamism to make this a rich, engaging and moving production.
The story of aspiring boxer Cameron Burns, played with zest by Stuart Ryan, is superbly told through layers of text, dance movement, soundscape and video. Lavery’s script is suitably punchy, the choreography sharp and inventive, and Underworld underscore it all with enrapturing sound. The real beauty is the way in which these elements mingle and merge to take us on the young man’s journey. That journey, like the production’s title, is poised on the border of pleasure and pain, delicacy and brutality.
This isn’t just Cameron’s tale, though; it is equally about the difficulties of motherhood as seen through Julie Wilson Nimmo’s excellently funny yet moving Carlotta Burns, and the conflict of democratic and autocratic principles as faced by the boxing coach, Keith Fleming’s Bobby Burgess, otherwise known as “god”. Most of all it conveys the sheer intensity with which we follow a life passion as we witness Cameron and his fellow aspiring boxers throw themselves into their sport. From loose-canon Neil Neill (Matthew Trevannion) to determined female Dina Massie (Margaret Ann Bain), we manage to glimpse the heart and gut of boxing.
The performers excel in their vocal and physical storytelling, with only a minor qualm being a lack of depth of character. But that is almost overcome by the sheer vitality and pulsating excitement of a performance that you feel reluctant to leave at the end.
Runs until 13th October 2012
Picture: Ela WlodarczykBeautiful Burnout – Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry,
Tags: Beautiful Burnout, Bryony Lavery, Coventry, Frantic Assembly, Julie Wilson Nimmo, Keith Fleming, Margaret-Ann Bain, Matthew Trevannion, National Theatre Of Scotland, Scott Graham, Steven Hoggett, Stuart Ryan, Underworld, Warwick Arts Centre