Interview: Blood, sweat and tears

Main content

Lindsay McPhee - The West Australian

In 2008 The National Theatre of Scotland brought its international hit Black Watch to the Perth International Arts Festival.

This year is has returned with yet another success – Beautiful Burnout – a gritty and powerful play on the highs and lows of aspiring boxing champions.

The blood, sweat and tears of four young men and one woman from the streets of Glasgow flow as their triumphs and failures are enacted on a boxing ring stage, accompanied by the electronic beats of music by Underworld.

Joining with physical theatre experts Frantic Assembly, the young cast spent months in training, in order to look, feel and for all the world appear as real boxers, with their profound physicality of their performances and precise choreography bringing audiences as close as possible to the sights and sounds of real boxing on stage.

Every punch and clinch has been perfected to the upmost realism.

"It was very intense," said Taqi Nazeer, who plays aspiring champion AJ Chopra.

"We went through the actual boxing training that boxers would go through in order to get the right physique and right movement because the piece is very much a physical theatre piece and movement is very much a part of that."

Whilst the cast acts out fights and training in both slow motion and at frantic full-tilt, Vicki Manderson (Dina Massie) said she hoped the play’s constant changing of pace and direction and surprising climactic ending would move audiences.

"The show changes a great deal throughout, there is a lot of highs and a lot of lows and the audience will hopefully experience both sides of it," she said.

Related Event