Review – Decky Does A Bronco, Beckets Park, Royal & Derngate, Northampton, 17th June

Decky Does a BroncoStill blogging out of sequence, but I thought I should alert you to this little gem as soon as I could.

Grid Iron Theatre Company based in Edinburgh are reviving their 2000 production of Decky Does A Bronco and touring all over the country in open air spaces throughout the summer.

The audience sits in the round and the only “set” as such is four park swings. David reminisces us through the events of one summer when he and his pals were about 9 years old, and the big “dare” was to do a Bronco, a trick on the swings when you get as high as you can and then jump off as the swing goes over the top. If you couldn’t do it, you were a bit of a wuss. And deserved to have the piss taken out of you. Trouble is, once you’ve jeered at someone for not being able to do it, you can’t take it back, no matter what happens to them….

Decky and his palsWe see how David and the others come to terms with something momentous happening in their childhood, and we too feel how we would cope with it. Guilt, regret, denial, simple sadness and vulnerability all play a part – which would you feel?

I particularly liked the way two actors played the same role, one as a child, one as an adult, and how they interwove as the child was rushed into manhood. Very effective. It was fun to work out where “you as a youngster” would have fitted in to the gang, and to see what kind of a person the “adult you” would be now.

Martin McCormickTo be honest I thought the play sagged a little in the middle, and that partly due to being underdressed in a north-easterly wind, but the opening segment and ending more than made up for it. The cast are tremendously talented in their acrobatics, and it is very much an ensemble piece; but I have to say I thought Martin McCormick as David, from whose perspective the whole story evolves, did a magnificent job of changing from boy to man and engaging us in his life.

I wonder why the programme takes the form of a football programme? Football doesn’t feature in the play at all!

Never go to bed on an argument; never leave without saying goodbye. Don’t forget to take the Kleenex.

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