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Beautiful Burnout review at Arts Depot London

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Hot from a successful worldwide tour, Frantic Assembly and National Theatre of Scotland’s Beautiful Burnout is back and it’s pulling no punches.

Beautiful Burnout follows five boxers as they transform from ordinary street nobodies to masters of the ring. Bryony Lavery’s story feels predictable but she never moralises, although she does question the sport’s merits.

Lavery’s sharp use of language interrogates the potential glamour inherent within this gladiatorial sport with expletive-laden monologues that carry tones of religious devotion. This sense of nobility versus violence is mirrored in Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett’s ritualistic movement sequences, thrillingly performed against the pumping orchestrations of Underworld.

The cast are at their physical peak and there is a palpable sense of bodies being pushed to their limits. Julie Wilson Nimmo brings a level of emotional connection to her role as terrified parent but on the whole Lavery’s lightly sketched characters give this cast little to play with in terms of emotional muscle.

Even so, Beautiful Burnout is a holistic feast for the senses and a pertinent look into the dynamic world of amateur and pro boxing.

Production Information

Arts Depot, London, October 16-October 19, then touring until December 1

Bryony Lavery
Scott Graham, Steven Hoggett
Frantic Assembly, National Theatre of Scotland
Cast includes
Margaret Ann Bain, Julie Wilson Nimmo, Keith Fleming, Taqi Nazeer, Stuart Ryan
Running time
1hr 30mins

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