Skip to main content

Beating McEnroe

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
Three stars

What happens when your heroes lose, proving themselves to be not as invincible as you once thought they were? At an impressionable age the effects can be traumatic enough to last a life-time, as was clearly the case when a six year old Jamie Wood watched a brattish John McEnroe beat Swedish demi-god Bjorn Borg in the 1981 Wimbledon men's singles final, robbing Bjorg of a sixth victory. As Wood's hour-long solo show isn't ashamed to confess, he's been dealing with the emotional fall-out of such a tragedy ever since.

It begins with Wood sitting cross-legged on the floor playing catch with the audience and some tennis balls that match his green attire. Such meditations usher in Wood's very personal psycho-drama, which he gets the audience to act out in order to purge it from his being. Investing his performance with a mix of pathos and self-deprecatory humour, Wood manages to transform his inner turmoil into a comic ballet that takes in sibling rivalry, a quest for freedom and a very hippyish way of letting it all hang out as the origins of Love-All are revealed inbetween throwing eggs around the room.

This is all good, clean touchy-feely fun with a deeper edge that looks to expose a few emotional scars in as entertaining a way as possible. Oh, and audiences should probably be aware that as well as tennis, there is wrestling, and that, should they be the chosen one, their evening might end with them rolling around the floor with with a half-naked man while sporting a curly black wig and head-band. And yes, dear reader, I was that soldier. What a racquet.
 
The Herald, March 16th 2015

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Art School Dance Goes On Forever – Snapshots Of Masters Of The Multiverse

Intro – Snapshots – Deaf School

1

In 1980, the same year as the Manchester band, Magazine, released a 7
inch single called A Song From Under The Floorboards – a three verse
and chorus distillation of Dostoyevsky's novel, Notes From Underground
– an art school scandal occurred.

This scandal took place in Liverpool, and was based around a project
called the Furbelows, although it became better known in the Liverpool
Echo and other organs that reported it as the Woolly Nudes.

The Furbelows, or Woolly Nudes, were a group of artists who had come
out of Liverpool College of Art, who, dressed in grotesque woolly
costumes which featured knitted approximations of male and female
genitalia, made assorted public interventions around the city centre as
kind of living sculptures acting out assorted narratives.

The Furbelows project had been funded by what was then Merseyside Arts
Association, and, after the participants were arrested and taken to
court on obscenity charges after what…

Peter Brook – The Prisoner

Peter Brook is no stranger to Scotland, ever since the guru of European and world theatre first brought his nine-hour epic, The Mahabharata, to Glasgow in 1988. That was at the city’s old transport museum, which by 1990 had become Tramway, the still-functioning permanent venue that opened up Glasgow and Scotland as a major channel for international theatre in a way that had previously only been on offer at Edinburgh International Festival.
Brook and his Paris-based Theatre des Bouffes du Nord company’s relationship with Tramway saw him bring his productions of La Tragedie de Carmen, La Tempete, Pellease et Mellisande, The Man Who…, and Oh Les Beaux Jours – the French version of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days – to Glasgow.
Thirty years on from The Mahabharata, Brook comes to EIF with another piece of pan-global theatre as part of a residency by Theatre des Bouffes du Nord, which Brook has led since he decamped to Paris from London in the early 1970s. The current Edinburgh residency has alr…

Romeo And Juliet - Shakespeare's Globe Comes to Glasgow

Open-air Shakepeares are a summer-time perennial of the theatre calendar, attracting picnicking audiences as much as midges. More often than not, such romps through the grass are frothy, heritage industry affairs designed to be accompanied by strawberries and cream and not to be taken too seriously. Shakespeare’s Globe theatre company look set to change such perceptions when they open their outdoor tour of Romeo And Juliet in Glasgow next week as part of the West End festival.

For the two young actors taking the title roles of the doomed lovers, it will also be something of a homecoming. Richard Madden and Ellie Piercy both studied in Glasgow prior to turning professional. Indeed, Madden has yet to graduate from the acting course at RSAMD, and, as well as facing the pressures of playing such a meaty role in close proximity to the audience, will have the added anxiety of being assessed and graded by his tutors.

“This is the end of my third year,” says Madden following a Saturday mornin…