Reviewer: David Doyle
Gary McNair and Kieran Hurley’s Square Go offers an entertaining glimpse inside the lives of two schoolboys as one prepares for their first square go, that’s playground fight for those not up to date on their lingo. McNair and Hurley are a tantalising pairing and one which works a treat in offering a thoughtful exploration of masculinity while never sacrificing a healthy dose of fringe fun along the way.
The lives of Max an Stevie, from classroom faux pas to dodging bullies in the schools loos, are familiar to the audience but when told through the lens of professional wrestling they feel fresh and offer much more beyond a traditional schoolyard tale. The piece also deftly utilises audience interaction to draw us into both the world of the familiar schoolyard and the less familiar wrestling ring. As well as pulling us emotionally into the world of the show, it also allows for a solid dose of humour, which is one of the highlights of the piece. Hurley and McNair’s writing crackles with wit and is delivered with perfection by Scott Fletcher and Gavin Jon Wright.
Beneath this humour however is a more pressing exploration of masculinity that gives that piece depth and raises it above being just a piece of fun. At a festival where masculinity is one of the issues being examined, this piece may initially appear to be removed from some of the more overtly political in its study but there’s a quiet politics beating just below the surface in this piece, which frequently bubbles to the fore. The combination of an interesting look at masculinity, wonderful performances, and a carefully crafted script, makes Square Go a perfect festival treat.
Runs until 26 August 2018 | Image: Mihaela Bodlovic