A boy is negotiating with his father. If his dad wants to tell him the story of Beowulf, then he’d better do it using the style and characters of Hollywood blockbusters. Dad has a think, then agrees… Laced with dry Irish wit and the sadness of why they’re here, this then is the multi-layered tale of a boy raised by his builder dad in 1980s Ireland, when single-parenting was an oddity to say the least.
At this point it’s best to let you discover the story yourself as it unravels and to enjoy the sheer skill of it all. What I can say is that Beowulf speaks like Sean Connery and Grendel has the claws of Freddy Krueger.
In a virtuoso physical performance, Bryan Burroughs is on the physical prowl throughout, but this he does without any in-yer-face arrogance or physical gimmickry, instead welcoming the audience to join him on his characters’ journeys. Especially interesting is the way he keeps the plot’s tension beating under whatever character he plays, that unobtrusive, detailed movement adding extra dimensions to the spoken humour and pathos. And, obviously, the fact that he has written a ripping script is also of great help.
As the penultimate scene played out, eyes were dabbed and there was a feeling that this play’s ability to touch so many on so many levels would end in a standing ovation – which it did.