Thursday, 17 May 2012

Fight Night


Tron Theatre, Glasgow
4 stars
The Tron’s socially-minded Mayfesto season may have been scaled down 
for this year’s incarnation, but it has continued to throw out an array 
of theatrical fire-crackers regardless. Many of these have been brand 
new Irish works by writers and companies little-known or seen in 
Scotland. So it goes with Gavin Kostick’s blistering little solo piece 
about an on-the-ropes young boxer who finally squares up to his entire 
family to prove he can go the distance.

Michael Sheehan plays Dan Coyle, a one-time middleweight contender who 
blew it aged twenty-two. After six years of flabby living, however, 
he’s match-fit once more, whatever his estranged old man might think. 
Over the course of a week-long work-out before he steps back into the 
ring, we’re let into Dan’s world, a high-octane mix of back-street 
macho pride, hand-me-down defiance and a rediscovering of his mojo via 
a steadyish relationship and the kid who came with it. If Dan has been 
shadow-boxing for half a decade, as the play opens he’s the comeback 
kid, prepared to take on the world.

Bryan Burroughs’ production puts Sheehan seriously through his paces 
over the course of a relentless fifty-five minutes that sees him 
swagger, skip and shuffle his way through things with an astonishingly 
well-honed physical dexterity that allows him to flit between 
characters in an instant. One minute his hands are on his hips as his 
judgmental Da’, the next they’re clasped in front of him as his 
reconciling partner, Michelle. Through all of this Sheehan somehow 
manages to deliver every nuance of Kostick’s words with clarity, wit 
and a lightness of touch that suggests, as with Dan, he’s punching well 
above his weight.

The Herald, May 16th 2012

ends



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