Dublin Fringe Festival: Beowulf The Blockbuster!

Bryan Burroughs in Beowulf The Blockbuster! Dublin Fringe Festival 2013

Bryan Burroughs in Beowulf The Blockbuster! Dublin Fringe Festival 2013

The title of Bryan Burroughs’ Beowulf: The Blockbuster! is slightly misleading; it is less a reworking of the Anglo-Saxon poem than a performance about how fantasy can help to absolve us from the hideousness of our present circumstances. “I’m about to be born,” Burroughs’ character announces as the performance commences, a metaphor for the birth of the creative imagination as much as a rethinking of his positioning in the greater genealogy of his ancestry. This is not the speaker’s story we are told, but his father’s. His grandfather is dying from cancer and he visits his Star Wars fanatic son to tell him one last story. He re-enacts the tale of the Old English legend of how Beowulf successfully defeated the monstrous Grendel and his equally hideous mother but, alas, he foundered in battle against the Dragon who got the better of him in the end.

This is a one-man show, performed on a bare stage, and what a performance it is. With a lightsaber as his sole prop, Burroughs negotiates the space with agility in a virtuosic piece of Physical Theatre, exploiting his training in the genre to full effect and traversing the boundaries between theatre and dance. Burroughs is an enthralling storyteller and the characters he creates are simultaneously hilarious and endearing. Perhaps a few more laughs may have provided some light relief from the sombre subject matter but otherwise this is a polished, refreshing take on the archetypal bond between father and son.

Star rating: ★★★★


  • Review
  • Theatre

Dublin Fringe Festival: Beowulf The Blockbuster! by Bryan Burroughs

11-20 September, 2013

Produced by Bryan Burroughs
In Bewley's Café Theatre

Written and Performed by: Bryan Burroughs
Director: David Horan
Lighting Design: Colm Maher
Dramaturg: Gavin Kostick
Costume: Liadain Kaminska Ní Bhraonáin
Production Manager: Andrew Adamson

This is part of the Show in a Bag series at Dublin Fringe Festival 2013, supported by Fishamble:The New Play Company and Irish Theatre Institute.