Thrown 4**** - One4Review
one4review | On 11, Aug 2023
Presented by the National Theatre of Scotland at the Travere Theatre, Glasgow based writer and actor Nat McCleary and director Johnny McKnight have created a uniquely Scottish play about the obscure age-old sport of backhold wrestling.
Four wrestlers burst on to the stage and perform a manic routine, with shouts and expressions suggesting a tension between them. We learn that all are very different – Imogen, who is black and Scottish, but with an English accent from her private school education down south; Chantelle, who is from a working class Scottish background, with a large social media following and a chip on her shoulder; Jo, a Gaelic speaker of mixed Jamaican and Scottish heritage; and Helen, an older Scottish women who needs to assert some independence in her life and just wants to have a go. Tying to mould them all together into a team is Pamela, their coach, who isn’t really sure who or what she is. She appears to be at a juncture in her gender identity, but before she makes any decisions on the future direction of her life, there’s something she wants more than anything else. The play is about identity and belonging, and what it means to be Scottish in this day and age. All five are looking for something different in their lives, and all are desperate to be part of a team, but will competing together in muddy fields on the Highland Games circuit bring them together or push them further apart?
The performances from the strong cast are energetic and well developed, as we learn of their individual traumas, although the dialogue can be a little too abrupt at times. The play, packed with metaphors, rollocks along nicely, exposing various tensions along the way. It is loud, funny and brutal in places, but has an energy carrying the audience through an hour of highly enjoyable theatre.
Reviewed by Howard
International Festival – Traverse 2
Until 27th August (not 14th and 22nd)