Beowulf: The Blockbuster is a wonderfully engaging piece of theatre reflecting on the intersection between literature and real life, about how we use story-telling to make sense of the world. It’s universal myth-making at its best.
In this one man show, Irishman Bryan Burroughs, demonstrates incredible versatility, taking on multiple roles and telling several stories at once. He perfectly inhabits each part through his commanding physical presence and via an amusing range of voices and accents. As a piece of theatre, it’s all so beautifully constructed that the audience never gets left behind.
We start with a man nervously awaiting the birth of his first child; the action then flashes back to his childhood days, with his own father battling a terminal illness. The ailing parent is unable to give voice to the terrible news and say all those important things, and instead relates the epic tale of Beowulf to his son (with liberal references to Star Wars and superheroes to keep the son engaged). In doing so, the grand ancient story takes on a poignant and very personal hue.
This is a bittersweet affair: a celebration of story-telling that contains some wonderfully comic moments, and a mediation on loss and personal tragedy. A compelling hour of theatre, Beowulf: The Blockbuster takes its audience through a whole range of emotions. It’s hard not be moved by it all.
The German Club provides an excellent venue for this kind of production; insulated from the noise bleed, audiences can be fully immersed in the experience. It’s important that the Fringe attracts high quality international theatre like this and, in acting as a hub for such shows, the GC is playing a vital role.
Beowulf: The Blockbuster plays nightly (with the exception of Mondays) until 13th March
Reviewed by Matthew Trainor