Browse reviews

Edinburgh Fringe 2013

Fists of Sulfur (Pugni Di Zolfo)

Maurizio Lombardi

Genre: Solo Show

Venue: Zoo Southside


Low Down

 A boxer after a tough match whistles his mother’s song in the silence and remembers. Two children in a mine in southern Italy in the early 1900s dreaming of the sea, anchovies, boxing, and wanking off, laughing and playing against death. What is the sea like? Like the night sky. Meaning what? Bring it down, take away the stars and make it blue, that’s the sea. A table, 10 candles, one actor. A fable where word is blood and poetry.


Suddenly out of the total black of a small Studio an overhead spotlight sculpts a glistening but defeated, cut and bruised giant of a boxer.  It is the 1930s and as he sits unwinding the bandages from his hands he recalls his childhood among the CARUSI –  the child workers digging for sulfur in the danger and darkness of a Sicilian mine.  He whistles a haunting lullaby his Mother used to sing telling of their exploitation.

 Distinguished Italian actor, writer, director Maurizio Lombardi has brought to the Edinburgh Fringe a work of great passion and poetry. His performance is informed by his first hand anger at the thousands of child workers  who were rated no higher than mere instruments of work and, deprived of their childhood, their health or even of life itself.

The production is of great simplicity: simple dramatic lighting :  minimal props and furniture  – just a table to sit on or to crawl underneath, vividly creating the cramped and claustraphobic tunnel, way underground, in which the children scraped for sulfur with their bare hands.   One other element of course:  the beautiful, rich and commanding tones of an actor of great power and conviction. 

These mines may no longer employ children in Sicily – but there’s plenty of exploitation to this very day in many other parts of the world and it is timely that this production comes,  not only remind us of the continuing atrocity of child slavery which still goes on,, but also perhaps to galvanise us into doing something

Fine acting: performed with powerful restraint and directed with economy and focus.