Grid Iron Theatre Company, Decky Does A Bronco

Review in Issue 12-3 | Autumn 2000

Douglas Maxwell's play about childhood and the loss of innocence seems especially poignant in light of the recent murder of schoolgirl Sarah Payne. Scottish company Grid Iron continue their tradition of creating site-specific performances for unusual places, with this show staged in a municipal playground.

The story, which is narrated in flashback by 26 year-old David (Keith Macpherson), takes us back to 1983 when the then nine year-old David and his mates whiled away the long summer months at the local playground. That was the summer when the 'bronco' – jumping to the ground from a swing as it reaches its apex – was the latest craze. Daredevils O'Neill (Paul Harrison) and Chrissy (Andy Clark) are masters of the art, whilst fall guy Decky (David Craig) – on the other hand – is too scared to try.

Maxwell's play is a poignant and beautifully observed portrait of youth, performed with spirit and commitment by a talented cast. Watching adults playing children can often be a queasy experience, but Grid Iron pull off a difficult task with aplomb. Decky Does A Bronco is a touching rite-of-passage drama about a bunch of kids whose carefree childhoods are abruptly ended by a terrible tragedy. For the adult Dave, the re-telling of the story of the night on which Decky was murdered is a way to assuage his guilt – Decky was always the one the boys picked on, if they hadn't egged him on to bronco on the swings, he might never have returned to the playground on the night he met his fateful end. It's a simple story compellingly told in a non-theatre environment which adds to its sense of sincerity and authenticity.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival

Scotland Yard Playground

Date Seen
  1. Aug 2000

This article in the magazine

Issue 12-3
p. 22