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Fringe review: East Belfast Boy @ Summerhall


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Unlike anything I’ve seen before, East Belfast Boy explores the life of a working class young man from East Belfast through spoken word, dance and techno music.

With only one actor and no props (the set consists of one white rectangular block in the middle of the stage), the show evokes a true sense of what it is like to be young in a true Belfast fashion.

Image: Carrie Davenport

20-year-old Davy begins by jumping out of the middle of the audience and dancing. Rows of lights positioned at either side of the stage flash as he moves and change throughout the show depending on what he is doing and what he is saying. The lighting is particularly important – it is mainly blue and purple, but gets brighter when he is being positive and more gloomy when negative.

In a strong east Belfast accent, Davy tells us about parties, his girlfriend, his young daughter, anxiety and being unemployed. Intermingled with techno dance and music, he paints a picture of his life and specific moments. Using spoken word techniques he illuminates just how he felt when his girlfriend gave birth to his wee girl, what he thinks of the Jobcentre and what drugs he enjoys taking at parties. At one point, the audience is instructed to close their eyes and imagine what comes to mind when they think of school. Davy uses this to illustrate his sub-par school experience and creates a contrast between the presumed middle-class Fringe-goers and his own life; something that I’ve never seen before at the Fringe. 

If Trainspotting was based in Belfast and had a lot more techno music and dancing, you would get East Belfast Boy. For anyone interested in experiencing innovative and new theatre, this show is for you.

This article is part of our coverage of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Click here to read other articles written by our contributors. 

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