Review: Decky Does a Bronco, Edinburgh Fringe

Grid Iron Theatre Company seizes our fascination with a play which is as brilliantly original in conception as it is audacious in execution. Deceptively simple at its outset, Decky Does a Bronco is a wonderfully inventive piece of site-specific theatre.

Set in an Ayrshire swing park in the early Eighties, the piece follows the eventful summer holidays of nine-year-old David and his friends, including the put- upon Decky, an unathletic kid with learning difficulties. For these young boys, minds full of Star Wars and American TV shows, there is no greater achievement in life than ‘broncoing’, but Decky, alone in the group, has yet to master the art of jumping from a moving swing and flipping it over his head.

Many have tried, with varying levels of success, to write the dialogue of childhood, but few come close to the hilarious authenticity of young writing talent Douglas Maxwell. He captures consummately the immediacy of life in the minds of children, and the often cruel nature of their friendships.

As the superb cast brings the physical energy, language and emotions of the piece powerfully to life, we are neatly lulled into a false sense of security which leaves us unprepared for Maxwell’s painfully poignant conclusion.

This review was originally published in Scotland on Sunday on 27 August 2000

© Mark Brown


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