Kissing Linford Christie

October 25, 2022 | By More

★★★★☆   Tenacious

Brunton Theatre: Sat 8 Oct 2022
Review by Thom Dibdin

Youthful dreams and adult reality rub into each other with pleasing effect in Victoria Beesley’s Kissing Linford Christie, based on her own life, and seen at the Brunton before touring around Scotland.

Produced by Catherine Wheels, Scotland’s leading theatre company for young audiences, the show is a tightly knit work that offers much to the imagination and expertly plays with the ideas and the concerns of its young target audience of eight years and above.

Ellinor Larsson in Kissing Linford Christie. Pic Amy Sinead

Beesley plays Vickie, a younger of herself, alternating in performances with Ellinor Larsson. Like so many youngsters, Vickie is obsessed with the Olympics when they come round. In her case, the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, where Linford Christie took gold in the 100m.

That obsession quickly dies out with the dying of the Olympic flame for most youngsters. For Vickie, however, it carries on and despite some glaring failures on the sporting field she pushes on with her dream to become an athlete, thanks largely to the inspiration she finds from Linford Christie.

The production is given an intimate staging under Ros Sydney and Shilpa T-Hyland’s co-direction, with the audience on benches round the performance area. They are drawn into the performance itself with a casual disregard for the fourth wall, as they are named as Vickie’s pals and enemies at school.

energetic

Beesley gives an energetic performance without being unduly athletic about it. Mele Broomes’ movement direction makes her aspirations feel realistic if unfounded. Beesley paces the playing area and uses ten second counts – the time it took Christie to run 100 yards – to great effect, both to time scene changes and accentuate her own failings.

Victoria Beesley in Kissing Linford Christie. Pic Amy Sinead

The script is packed with detail of her young life and obsession with Christie. Her father taking her to see him when he came promote his autobiography at the local bookshop, her other obsession with Gladiators and how the two obsessions collided.

There are plenty of 1990s details to keep older audiences on their toes, too, both in the words and in and Alisa Kalyanova’s clever set, which easily transforms from bedroom to locker-room. The level of detail and description of a childhood obsession will chime with young audiences.

Beesley’s early adult years are jumped over with a hop, step and a rather big jump that doesn’t quite land cleanly in her eventual participation in the Olympics. But by then, this fascinating and relatable tale has made its point: of believing in your dreams, turning them into ambitions and grabbing any chance to bring them about.

Running time: 45 minutes.
Seen at the Brunton, Ladywell Way, Musselburgh, East Lothian EH21 6AA.
On tour throughout Scotland and available as part of the Theatre in Schools Scotland.
See Catherine Wheels website for tour details: https://www.catherinewheels.co.uk
See TISS website for Schools details.: https://www.theatreinschoolsscotland.co.uk/

Ellinor Larsson in Kissing Linford Christie. Pic Amy Sinead

ENDS

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.