28
Jan
12

Sydney Festival: Beautiful Burnout

Three and a half years ago I saw Black Watch, a play in London that was a touring production of the National Theatre of Scotland. It was very good. Last night I saw Beautiful Burnout – a production by the same company – as my last Sydney Festival event. It was, perhaps, even better.

It’s a play about boxing. Like Black Watch, Beautiful Burnout contains acting, dance, and projections. It’s got lots of Glaswegian-tongued humour and cursing. And it’s utterly gripping. It’s a glimpse into a world of discipline and disappointment. It’s a tale of striving and yearning. It’s a frustrated romance. It’s a tragedy. It’s all set on a rotating stage, with amazingly choreographed fights that slide in and out of Matrix-style bullet-time. There’s a throbbing Underworld soundtrack beneath it all, too, which works very well.

It’s theatre that has high energy and high hopes, grittiness and guts. I saw it from the front row and could not look away from the split-second timed exertion. If you missed it, you’ve missed out.

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