Jason Blake - Sydney Morning Herald
Beautiful Burnout takes its audience ringside for a breathless 90 minutes of aerobic drama set to a booming soundtrack.
We’re in Glasgow, the time is ‘‘noo’’ and working-class lad Cameron Burns is about to step into the gym run by local boxing trainer Bobby Burgess (Ewan Stewart). Quickly assessed to have the right stuff (the auld fella can spot a fighter in a split second, it seems), Cameron joins the Burgess stable.
All hailing from the same opportunity-starved council estates, Burgess’s boxers harbour big dreams, fancying themselves as big-earning stars on the professional circuit. Neil is talented but lacks discipline. Ainslie has the discipline but not the talent. Dina, the only woman Burgess has ever trained, is haunted by abuse and motivated by fantasies of revenge. The showboating Ajay, the self-styled ‘‘Asian Cobra’’, chafes under Burgess’s authoritarian rule (and Presbyterian disdain for expressions of flair).
A co-production between physical theatre company Frantic Assembly and the National Theatre of Scotland, Burnout – at the dramatic level – is an unpretentious rites-of-passage story framed by the perspectives of its two elders: Burgess (iron fist, heart o’ gold) and Cameron’s mum Carlotta (Blythe Duff), whose warmth and humour counteracts Burgess’s bristly presence.
[extract of the Sydney Morning Herald review]