BEATS – Review

Published On November 28, 2013 | By Amy Holtz | Theatre & Arts Reviews & Previews

The Old Market – 22/23rd November

Kieran Hurley’s captivating monologue Beats is the spirit of youth encapsulated in one ecstatic moment on the dancefloor – when the concrete, dog-shite-laden path in front of you suddenly shimmers, giving you a glimpse of a different future.  Fifteen-year-old Johnno McCreadie is listless in his tiny world.  ‘It’s not nothing,’ he chants to himself after his first violent, ecstatic, illegal rave, ‘It’s not nothing’.  The crack of light this heady experience delivers Johnno is certainly not nothing, but everything.

But, as Kieran Hurley suggests with his adult incarnations, it’s a mantra whose echo grows softer as memories replace experience and as the reckless cortex of our brain shrinks into neurons.  What’s left is disatisfaction; mother Angela McCreadie is consumed by clock-watching worry while police officer Robert Dunlop struggles to justify himself to his former steelworker father.  Hurley cleverly imbues his adult characters with the complexity they deserve; this is no pro-youth narrative that paints adults as ignorant, ranting fun police.  Everyone struggles with their lot.  Everyone tries, fails to live up to their parents’ hopes and often modest dreams.  Everyone questions the boundaries that contain us.  At the heart of this story runs a deep vein of sadness; the crushing realisation that life’s best moments are flashes of light in an otherwise inky black landscape.

In a performance that’s as seamless as it is absorbing, the story is king.  It’s a credit to Hurley’s storytelling swagger that you almost forget he’s there – the visual montages which situate you in a car on a dark, cold Scottish country lane, or in the middle of kaleidoscope-coloured 90’s rave backed up by DJ Hushpuppy’s expertly mixed soundtrack, close the circuit.  Kieran Hurley’s captivating monologue Beats is indeed as good as the Edinburgh reviews would suggest; well worth the trip.

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About The Writer

I'm not from around here... Likes: The library, adjectives and adverbs (see above), sugar and my Specialized. Dislikes: When the other Amy Holtz's daughter, in Philadelphia, emails me for a lift home. And most buskers in the North Laines.