Beating McEnroe

The Traverse, Edinburgh
12th-14th March
2746960804
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Beating McEnroe a one man tour de force from Jamie Wood made in collaboration with Ellie Griffiths and Wendy Hubbard as as co directors, performed at the Edinburgh festival 2013 and toured the country since. Set back in 1980 – 81 when Björn Borg was at the top of his game, the first super cool rock star type in sport. He was everything Jamie and his brother wanted to be until John McEnroe came along and burst the cool bubble. Wood takes us through his memories of these events he was six at the time his brother fourteen. We bounce through the inner workings of his mind.  From dream sequence to dance sequence and onto that fateful match that gripped the world.

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Beating-McEnroe
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The start sees a bearded hippy looking Wood sitting like a Zen master at some meditation retreat. He throws tennis balls out into the crowd and you are taken into a world of his families idolisation  :  “I love Björn Borg,” Wood states ” because my family love Björn Borg,” he pauses, “and because of his beard ” Wood challenges us to ask ourselves, ‘Why do we choose the role models we do.’
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We explore the relationship between Wood and his older brother, who coached him at tennis. Snatches of tennis commentary, pieces of 80’s music and sketches of a little Wood holding hands with his older brother projected on to the wall. It’s high on audience participation using people to act out pivotal moments from playing umpire, to using a toilet plunger to recreate the sound of the ball bouncing. Wood himself being a giant ball prancing across the stage in underpants and a tutu, my favourite seeing him make the chalk lines of the court with a large tub of salt tied to his head. Often you just don’t know what’s going to happen next so if you’re not a fan of audience participation this might not be for you. Sometimes odd and slightly surreal Wood manages to keep it together, overall an entertaining hour spent in his company. A very entertaining Four Stars.
four stars
Reviewer : Angela Nisbet
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Posted on March 14, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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