FIGHTER | London, Stratford Circus

This new play by writer and actor Libby Liburd, inspired by pioneering female boxers that fought for their right to fight, is an apt metaphor for a single mother struggling to bring up her son. Packing punches to the gut where the guilt of motherhood lies, Liburd inhabits the role of single mother Lee in a funny and inspiring story that uses the sport of boxing as a path to female empowerment.

Staged at London’s intimate Stratford Circus Arts Centre, director Julie Addy and lighting designer Sherry Coenen expertly bring to life the authentic feel of a sweaty boxing club. A simple set with a boxing ring at its centre denotes the legendary ‘Tommy’s gym’, populated with young boxers from community organisation Fight for Peace, doing impressive training drills. The audience were instantly hooked into this fast paced, high energy piece of quasi-immersive theatre underscored with the mechanical beat of techno grime.

With a cast that boasts the formidable and versatile talents of BAFTA and Golden Globes nominated actress Cathy Tyson (Alison) and The Inbetweeners ‘Best Parent’ award winning actor David Schaal (Tommy), showcasing a few heavyweight sparring rounds of their own as a husband and wife duo. Tyson’s powerful performance as a strong matriarch manifested a few carefully placed jabs to Schaal’s chauvinistic dinosaur that he skilfully layered with bravura comic pathos that kept the audience onside. Their sparky relationship served as a mirror to Lee’s gender struggles in the public arena.

Liburd’s theme of women fighting to be heard in a male dominated world, was evident in her previous play Muvvahood that successfully ran at several London venues to great critical acclaim. She is certainly smashing patriarchy in the gizzard and announcing the arrival of a new breed of strong women unafraid to challenge the status quo. I will certainly be reserving a ring side seat at her next offering.

Don’t miss an opportunity to see such top talent in an engaging piece of theatre that runs until April 27th. For more information visit stratford-circus.com

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