Edinburgh Fringe 2012
An episodic piece that looks at the rise of a young boxer, the humble beginnings of another, the return of a former champ and the corruption involved in the ring. The Croatian company evoke Mate Parlov as inspiration and this Croatian sportsman of the Century would be intrigued to see how his memory is celebrated.
This is a physical theatre piece that begins with a cross dressing actor sweeping the venue before a young boxer arrives at this gym. This first episode gives way to the rise of a champion before we hear of a former champion returning to the ring and then a Champ, past his best, is compelled into corruption.
The fact is that the narrative, if there really is one, is all over the place. At its heart there are some interesting things being said in each episode but the beginning in particular is just unconvincing. I have been about boxers and the sparring at first is just not good enough. Once it becomes more dance related and choreographed there are some excellent set pieces but the beginning spoils your confidence in the production. The best piece for me was the talking gloves. That was inspired and demonstrated that this is a company with a great deal of creativity.
The performers not only box and narrate they act and are a rock band. A major issue for me is that their English is stilted. It means that the scenes where they act do not flow too well. They come across as hesitant with dialogue that seems under rehearsed. And yet it has an unnerving charm.
The setting is seedy enough for a boxing gym and it makes the production seem more believable. It is this innate charm that shines through. Despite the many flaws that you think it has there is something about this piece that charms you. Simply put it is a mess. The delivery of the lines and the lack of credibility at times of the physicality of the set pieces leaves you hanging but it has started the investigation and the perspective of the company is highly valid. I am still singing their end song in my head – Golden Gloves.
The audience was highly appreciative though it was compact and bijou. I will not hurry back to the Bongo Club to re see the performance but I would love to see this company in their mother tongue performing. I believe they have so much more to give but the impact of US style English on the culture of Central Europe is a travesty. The culture of the ring as well as the National Culture of a country which is vibrant and new is worthy of listening to as well as investigation. I hope these artists take heart and progress, return and try again.