Fringe 2016 – Beowulf: The Blockbuster – The German Club – Showroom One – 4K

By Tom Eckert


If we are talking minimalism, this is almost as there as it gets. With nothing more than a square frame of light with adjustable hue, the black T-Shirt on his back and a charming Irish accent, Bryan Burroughs strides, soars and floats his way across the stage and single-handedly brings you into the intimate world of a father and son’s relationships with only the occasional foray into the womb.

What we have a here is a man well versed in the bardic traditions and epic poetry with a strong does of physical theatrics to boot. Playing father, son, grandmother and grandson it’s genuinely hard to convince yourself that this is but one man on stage.

Brought gently into the story of a son and his languishing father you feel your heart strings tugged by the conflict between youthful naivity and the knowledge of finite mortality. This dissonance however is slowly mollified throughout the piece in the oldest form possible, by expressing that which you can’t yourself through story.

In the most quintessentially paternal manner Burroughs character wrestles with his stoical nature and desires through the legend of Beowulf. With frequent modernising interjections, including a comparison of Grendel to Chewbacca, it is made more accessible to  Burroughs’ nine year-old self as well as lay people not acquitted with the anglo-saxon epic poem.

Whilst maybe lacking the impact of some of the more spectacular shows. Beowulf: The Blockbuster has a more intimate pull. In this day and age of shock and special effects, it’s good to see that the age old forms still retain their place and impact.

Kryztoff rating: 4K

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