Stuntman

Stuntman is a high-action piece of physical theatre mixed with reflective storytelling and real heart. It takes us through the stories of two men and their relationship with violence. Throughout it is interspersed with moments of childlike play-fighting. They use various props, real or imagined to repeatedly kill each other in an over the top cheesy action movie style. However these are fully grown men, not children, and with that some of the tricks they are able to pull off in the ‘fights’ are genuinely impressive.

Even when the actors look completely exhausted they somehow keep going

It's in these sections of physical work that the actors seem most at home and the piece has its greatest strength. They are playful with each other and their friendship is powerful and obvious to anyone watching. It's clear the men are putting their absolute all into it. The show sustains this high energy approach very well - even when the actors look completely exhausted they somehow keep going. This playful nature is mirrored in the sound design which has elements of video games and film sound effects scattered throughout.

At its core Stuntman aims to be a piece exploring masculinity and its links to violence. They use real accounts from the actors' lives which creates a meaningful connection to the work and to the audience. However it’s unclear what the take away of the piece really is. Is the message simply: violence exists? It seemed as though while they were trying to get at something more nuanced but we never quite got there. There is a story towards the end that feels as though it should be the emotional climax of the piece or the nail to hang their banner on but rather than doing this it seems to just fizzle out. There are powerful moments scattered through this piece but they don’t quite build together to create a meaningful whole.

This is a work with a lot of potential and the performances are genuinely excellent. It’s great to see men talk about their feelings particularly with such a poignant issue and in this public way. It may be that this is the starting point for a very important conversation and I hope that is the case. These are the sort of stories and topics that should be getting explored more within Scotland's cultural landscape, however I am unsure if Stuntman takes it to the depths that the issue deserves.

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Reviews by Gillian Bain

Summerhall

Stuntman

★★★
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★★★
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★★★★★
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★★★★★
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★★★★

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Performances

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The Blurb

An intensely physical, funny, and tender duet by two men wrestling with their relationship to violence – both onscreen and off. Fusing the Pow! Biff! and Wallop! of over-the-top stunt fights with personal stories of real encounters with violence from the performers' lives, Stuntman explores the relationship between violence and masculinity and the impact this has on our perceptions of men. A show for anyone who has ever enjoyed a violent action movie (but felt a bit weird about it). 'A thoroughly exhilarating 60 minutes that certainly pulls no punches' ***** (TheRecs.co.uk). MadeInScotlandShowcase.com

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