The whole monologue is the recording of a video message. Boxing club trainer, Ray feels compelled to tell the truth for once. He was going to put everything down in a letter to son ‘Bomber (the ex-boxer), but he believes the sincerity of the true confessions will show in his face and that seeing his facial expressions as he speaks the words will do it more tangibly.
What is it that Ray has in common with his lad? Nothing and everything it seems, because whether you care anything about boxing, or not, this will move you.
The beauty of The Pyramid Texts is that the story, on the surface, is of boxing and what that means for someone who experiences the draw of the sport in philosophical ways, more than the physical. Ray’s autobiographical account of his personal involvement with it, the lessons he learned; telling of the nurturing approach he took with his young gym members and how the boxing elite inspired him. He is relaying these stories to his son digitally and even if his ‘boy’ may have already heard the tales (many were experiences they had shared after all); Ray has never revealed before, in such raw honesty, the strength of feelings he holds for his son, for their lives, his love for him; his hopes and fears; and regrets; quite like this!
The writing is excellent throughout. The performance is incredible, and if you may already be feeling somewhat claustrophobic due to the doubled seating ‘love seats’ (as someone put it) in The Door’s studio setting at The Rep, the hour long fascination and fixation of the one man feat on stage makes it an intoxicating, quite intense theatrical experience all in all.
Performed by Christopher Fairbank
Written by Geoff Thompson
Directed by Michael Vale
Theatre critic, Debra Hall attended press night of The Pyramid Texts at Birmingham Repertory Theatre (The Door) on Tuesday 26 May 2015. A repeat publication of this review appears at Remotegoat
The show is ON TOUR