Lace Up

Aug 13 2014 | By More

✭✭✭✭✩  Drama with punch

theSpace on North Bridge (Venue 36) Mon 4 – Fri 22 Aug (even dates only) 2014

Expect blood, sweat and tears in this searing drama looking at the price a young boxer from Edinburgh is asked to pay on his way to the top.

James Garvock and Daniel Campbell. Photo: Trig Point Theatre

James Garvock and Daniel Campbell. Photo: Trig Point Theatre

Lace Up is the story of brothers Stuart and Teddy Macmillan – boxer and trainer – on the verge of massive success after years of struggle. As the play opens, Teddy believes Stuart is ready for a crack at the world title, but he has to convince US promoter Jack. He arranges for Stuart to fight a past-it pugilist in Las Vegas – come through and a shot at the global prize is his. Stuart triumphs, but not in the way he expects, and both brothers must ask themselves how far they’ll go to achieve their dreams.

Mikey Burnett and Joseph McCann were part of last year’s Traverse 50 emerging writers scheme. Their raw, single-set piece is brought to life by three superb young performers. Daniel Campbell and Patrick Wallace are well matched as Stuart and Teddy respectively.

Campbell looks the part, and moves like a fighter – Clovenstone Amateur Boxing Club are thanked in the programme notes – but surprises when, a few scenes in, we finally hear Stuart’s thoughts. He’s as broad Edinburgh as his brother (the language of Lace Up has an authenticity that won’t be for everyone), but there’s an unexpected lyricism to his words. He’s a fighter, but he’s also in touch with his emotions, and able to express them in ways other than the physical.

apparently effortless élan

Teddy tries to keep his feelings at bay, erecting a ring around himself that in its way is as real as any boxing ring. His dealings with Jack are characterised by a rage that leads him to attack first in order to defend the future he sees for himself and Stuart. When the two brothers fall out, their great love leads to fireworks that Wallace and Campbell convey with apparently effortless élan.

James Garvock impresses too, playing not just Jack, but the brothers’ father, a manifestation of memory who drives the drama. Garvock shifts easily from white trash American to Edinburgh drunk. In addition, he essays an HBO pundit alongside Wallace who, wouldn’t you know it, also manages a mean US twang.

Iain Davie and Catherine Exposito’s taut direction for New Celts Productions and Trig Point Theatre quickly draws us in and never lets us go, while the brooding music from Ross Somerville introduces and underscores events.

Pithy, pacey and with plenty to say, Lace Up is a knockout.

NB: Caution: 14+
Running time: 1 hour (no interval)
theSpace on North Bridge, North Bridge, EH1 1SD (Venue 36)
Mon 4 – Fri 22 Aug 2014 (even dates only)
Daily: 18.45
Tickets from:
Trig Point Theatre webpage:


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