Billed as “a new performance for anyone who has ever enjoyed a violent action movie (but felt a little bit weird about it).” Superfan’s Stuntman is a thoroughly engaging little gem of a mixed-discipline production. A musing on the relationship between young men and violence and how consumption of on-screen violence impacts on everyday life.
To the strains of an 80s action movie soundtrack, on an almost boxing ring-like stage, the actors (and their BSL interpreter Iain Hodgetts) draw the audience right into the heart of the story.
The action goes from intensely physical; an out-and-out child-like glee at re-enacting stunt scenes from action movies with their posturing and protracted death scenes, to heart-felt personal storytelling and beautifully synchronised choreographed sequences.
The production greatly benefits from the duet at its centre. Sadiq Ali and David Banks are critical to the success of the piece, managing to be both tough and tender in equal measure, a tenderness that belies their muscular exteriors (indeed Banks, covered in bruises bears the physical scars of his efforts). The magnetic duo’s intensity and commitment to the performance is arresting and engaging.
On the surface fun and silly, it has much greater depth, and the framing of the bigger issues in this dynamic way means it is delivered with a (thoughtful) punch. A small but perfectly formed piece of theatre.
Image: Brian Hartley