Review By Kynan Arden
The MC Showroom at the first breath of Melbourne’s Fringe Festival invited me to a rather fresh spectacle differing from the usual with The Les Darcy Show, a short but gut punching (pun intended?) theatre picture telling the story of the titular Australian hero, a triumphant middleweight champion boxer who only just took Australia and America by storm before his untimely demise at the age of 21, brought to you by original writings by Jack Hibbered in 1974 and presented Brandon Armstrong, making his directorial debut.
Throughout the story among some fictionalised elements, we look at summary of Darcy’s life from his relatively peaceful yet at times troubling life with a cautious, protective mother and a supportive yet barbarous father, to his triumphs in the boxing world that led him to his travels to America with a slimy promoter. As well as David Doig’s fierce portrayal of the legendary boxer, our ensemble of actors with beautiful ranges bring the characters surrounding Darcy to life, with Yvonne Martin as Margaret Darcy, Sebastian as Ned Darcy/Hawkins, Luke Slade as Tex/Kearns, and Ella Le Fournour as Winnie O’Sullivan/Father Coady. Each performance allowed us as audience to be fully immersed in the rough Australian-Irish pre/mid-war era, and the direction as a whole made what is in hindsight such a linear straight forward story an emotional, fun, and somber experience.
The stage setting created as well an immersive yet also symbolic backdrop to the story, as we have only one major set piece needed in Les Darcy’s tale: the boxing ring, as the theme of boxing really is the be all and end all of the tale itself. It not only highlights the wins, losses, fear and vigour of the sport itself, with each major match narrated in detail by both commanding words and stunning choreography, but it also provides a looming shadow over not only the life of Les Darcy, but the loved ones around him, and the ring further implementing itself as a death bed for the protagonist as while no lethal left or right sock took his life, but instead a sickness that ultimately crossed the finish line against his constant pursuit for greatness.
If your weekend plans are lacking, then why not bring yourself to the MC Showroom to witness the legendary tale of Les Darcy constructed by an incredibly talented and passionate team both on and off the stage, and witness an incredible retelling of a true story about forgotten Australian History.
The Les Darcy Show is running at the MC Showroom from 11th October to 15th October
You can get your tickets here