Review: Boy

A compassionate story respected by the talented duo

theatre review (edinburgh) | Read in About 1 minute
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Boy, courtesy of Summerhall
Published 19 Aug 2022

Swedish company Teateri share this touching true story of the Reimer family from Canada in 1965. The parents, John and Janet, were plunged into confusion when one of their six-month-old twins suffered a machine induced accident during circumcision as a child, essentially dismembering him. The social conditioning and treatments to follow would go on to create the “loving man” he came to be.

Directed by Dutch writer and theatre maker Carly Wijs and performed by Jesper Arin and Vanja Maria Godée, the sensitive yet creative approach to storytelling is unique. Both Arin and Godée very quickly make the audience comfortable in a casual conversation they are eager for the audience to listen to but they are equally conscious of their reaction.

The second person narration from the pair, jumping in and out of character is particularly engaging. The use of stuffed cuddly children’s toys further creates a tender dynamic, giving platform to the contrast that ensues. Wijs' design and use of space is simple and effective. At first the blue sheet appears as a makeshift curtain; however, the reveal creates a whole host of storytelling opportunities exposing every angle of the truly tumultuous tale.