Summerhall has been a Fringe venue for less than a decade but given some of the excellent shows we have seen there
over those years each new Fringe we look to their programme to try and spot this years must see show . DarkChatters
Dave and Carl both picked out Sean Mahoney’s one man show ‘Until You Hear That Bell’ as one to see and so made the
short trip in the hope that it might be just that show.
The show is listed in the Spoken Word section of the Fringe programme but it is so much more than a simple hour of
monologue. Mahoney takes us through the life of a young amateur boxer from a terrified child stepping into a gym for the
first time to a confident young man sparring and competing with bigger, stronger lads. A 4 minute boxing clock hangs
above the stage splitting the show into 3 minute rounds with a one minute ‘break’ between each where we get some
background on the young boxers life as we meet a cast of characters including parents, siblings and all manner of
trainers and opponents, every one with a name that seems to come from a bygone Boxing age!
The Anatomy Lecture Theatre at Summerhall is such a perfect space for the performance it could almost be classed as ‘site-specific’! The semi-circular horseshoe seating creates a small amphitheatre like environment and means that at times those of us sat in the front row are only inches from Mahoney’s face adding to the intensity of the performance.
The number of props is limited but no more are necessary as Mahoney paints such clear pictures with his words and actions (and the props that he does choose to use) that you feel that you could be there in the gyms or small halls. One man theatre is quite often physically impressive but this show takes that to another level, Mahoney showing off his own boxing skills and one particular ‘training session’ section is quite possibly the single-most impressive piece of performance dialogue you will see this Fringe.
As the show ended the two of us in attendance looked at each other, mouthed “Wow” and agreed that what we had seen was ‘astonishing’. We made sure to take the time afterwards to wait around to tell the performer as much and we weren’t the only ones to do so that night, such was the impact the performance had.
If you have the chance to see Until You Hear That Bell at this Fringe I urge you to get along to Summerhall before word gets out and this starts to sell out. If you can’t see it now then make sure to do so anywhere else that it might tour as it deservedly should do.
Unit You Hear That Bell is at Summerhall until August 26th (not Mondays)
Summerhall (Venue 26) 20.55