City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Decky Does A Bronco Review

By Bill Dunlop - Posted on 09 August 2010

Decky Production 2a (Douglas Jones)
Show details
Grid Iron Theatre Company, Traverse Theatre
Running time: 
Ben Harrison (director), Judith Doherty (producer), Catrin Evans (assitant director), Philip Pinsky (composer)
Ross Allan (Barry), Fin de Hertog (Adult Barry), David Elliot (O'Neill), Nicky Elliot (Adult O'Neill), John Kielty (Adult Chrissy), Martin McCormick (David), Ben Winger (Decky), Gavin Wright (Chrissy)

Decky, forever nine, is now ten years old. It’s a little unsettling to recall the original production of Decky Does A Bronco in the same location (Scotland Yard Park in the New Town) as this revival by Gridiron Theatre Company with The Traverse and to reflect on the times between then and now.

An early production by what is now Scotland’s most enduring theatre company (now there is an unsettling thought), Decky Does A Bronco looks hard at what we make of our childhoods and what our childhoods make us.

Set in a swing park, where adult actors recreate one summer when most of them were nine, too wee for adolescent angst, but big enough to take their pre-pubescent aggression out on the weakest as well as each other, the play strips back adult veneers to remind any male of what we were all once like.

The revelation doesn’t always make for pleasant viewing. This is a wee world where the rose-tinted glasses are frequently snatched away to reveal the rivalries, harshly spoken truths and naïve belief systems of the young in all their naked honesty and (to adults) foolishness.

There’s both light and shade in Decky Does A Bronco, and the adult selves of the children bear the scars of one summer’s day in different ways, their occasional presence haunting the action as the action will continue to haunt them.

Douglas Maxwell aims straight and true for the heart of childhood, and cast and production back his story to the hilt. It’s a rare treat in theatre these days to discover a ‘new’ play of ten years ago revived, but Decky Does a Bronco fully deserves the time and effort Gridiron have clearly given to what remains, for this reviewer, a very significant Scottish play.

To travel back ten years is to be in a very different place, economically as well as theatrically, and one looks to the future with anxiety that theatre of this level of vision and panache may become harder to achieve in our necessarily more straitened circumstances.

As with children, however, the moment is where most of us live most of the time, and while we live with Decky and his pals we are rich indeed.

Show times: 5-21 August  (not 9), 7.30pm

Ticket prices: £6 (unemployed) - £19

The 2 for 1 ticket offer is tomorrow (10th)