City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Beating McEnroe, Traverse Theatre, Review

By Justine Blundell - Posted on 14 March 2015

Show Details
Traverse Theatre
Jamie Wood (writer)
Jamie Wood (performer)
Running time: 

Beating McEnroe takes a softly surreal look at what it means to be a man and how to deal with fallen heroes - possibly.

Jamie Wood loved Björn Borg, idolised him – perhaps because of his beard, perhaps because everyone else in his family did. He was only 6 years old in 1980 when the cool, calm and collected Swede beat McEnroe, the whingeing Yank, in the Wimbledon men’s singles final. A year later the result was reversed and a year after that, at only 26 years of age, Borg retired. Today, Jamie Wood is still coming to terms with that double loss.

At the heart of Jamie’s disjointed story is his relationship with his brother who, being eight years older, coached him in tennis and, with reference to their hero, in the art of becoming a man. He was supposed to fight and not supposed to show emotion and especially not to cry. This clearly contrasted with the current Jamie’s hippy, girly appearance (long hair, dressed for the most part in a little ballet skirt) and his obvious affection for peace and love.

Jamie danced to 80’s hits, used flipcharts, shaman chanting, drawings, voice-overs, miscellaneous props and a multitude of audience participation to perform his act of catharsis. He was bizarrely entertaining and extremely likeable, but bewilderingly oblique. There was much to be amused at but little to grip on to. It is hoped that he, at least, found some inner peace after wrestling his demons and a member of the audience whom he had dressed up as nemesis McEnroe.

If you fancy watching a man drawing white lines on the ground with the help of a funnel, a wheeled contraption and a tub of salt strapped to his head with little idea of what to make of it, then this show could be right up your street. For more substance and/or purpose, you should probably look elsewhere.

Runs 12th – 14th March