REVIEW: Cornermen, The Basement, York City Screen

The Cornermen was about the world of boxing
The Cornermen was about the world of boxing

“Wildgoose Theatre aims to bring you plays that you may not have seen, or maybe not even heard about, and give them the exposure they deserve,” said Andy Love, director of Wildgoose’s latest production, Cornermen by up and coming playwright Oli Forsyth.

I’d never heard of Oli Forsyth, and know very little about the boxing world, so it was a good opportunity to see whether Wildgoose’s aim was true, or whether I was going to be led on a Wildgoose chase.

I was knocked out by the stunning first night performance. The Basement, with its dim lighting and tables set in front of the acting area created just the right atmosphere for a play about the competitive world of UK professional boxing. Martyn Hunter, Drew, Alexander King, Mickey, and Claire Morley, Joey, were a team of trainers on the prowl for talent. I learned a lot about boxing through the well-crafted script, delivered with punch and pace by the three actors Enter Sid Sparks, a young contender, played with great conviction by Joe Sample, who looked like he was the “ Journeyman ” these trainers had been looking for, a middling boxer who could take his punches and earn their pay cheques.

This is when the pressure and tension mounted in the play I was reminded of John Godber’s style, with the trainers taking it in turns to address the audience directly.