DramaReviewSouth West

Boxman – Phoenix, Exeter

Writer: Daniel Keene

Music: Beth Duke

Director: Edwina Strobl

Reviewer: Margarita Shivarova

A story most relevant in today’s geopolitical climate, Boxman shows the true and rough perspective a homeless refugee has on life, love, loss and dreams.

Directed by Edwina Strobl, in this one-act production Ringo (Reice Weathers) lets the audience into the two most precious things a homeless man is left with: his mind and his soul. The former is a mess. Such that one expects to occur when people are forced to flee their countries, forget their families, leave their identities and fight purely for their physical survival. Yet, Ringo grows out of these troubles. Seeing them from outside allows him to reflect, swallow down his destiny and cover it up with a neurotic laugh. It is not the tragedy that matters anymore. So short and precious, the dreams Ringo is left with, throw us back and forth only to emphasise the fact that it will never be the way it was.

As for his soul, the source of all emotions, he wears it on a sleeve. With nothing more to lose exposing himself plays a fundamental role in the character’s life to be. Keeping the memories inside his brain is not a virtue, but a curse. Why keep them then enclosed? Especially, when they can be used to make a show. For people passing by, for the policeman who visits every now and then. The insanity of the loner becomes his only selling point, although telling his story to strangers wouldn’t help but only rewind the cassette. 

Reice Weathers shows some great acting skills. The palette of emotions such as sadness, anger, joy, fear and madness that he offers give justice to the story and to Ringo. Interaction with the audience is key. Jokes with a taste of tragedy strike a balance as they help to alleviate the mood of helplessness. At the same time, these moments are like little gems of hope as they portray a personality that can absorb all the difficulties in life and wipe them with a smile.

The setting, sound and lighting design contribute to imagining how little homeless people have. The writing and pace of the play give the sense of an unfinished story, an ongoing issue as in the case of refugee crisis both as a social problem and on a personal level. Ringo’s experience would always haunt him no matter how hard he shakes himself off the memories.

Runs until 12 August 2018 | Image: Contributed

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The Yorkshire & North East team is under the editorship of Mark Clegg. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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