Edinburgh-based theatre company Grid Iron are returning to King George V Park for a new revival of Decky Does a Bronco, the award-winning (and now much travelled) play by Douglas Maxwell which is performed outdoors.
'King George V Park is very close to our hearts,' says Grid Iron's Producer and Co-Artistic Director Judith Doherty, 'partly because that's where we first rehearsed Decky way back in 2000 (and so we kind of view it as the show's spiritual home), but also because, from 2001 until very recently, the Grid Iron office was based round the corner in East Claremont Street.'
Described as 'dangerous, exhilarating and absolutely brilliant to watch', Decky involves an 8-person cast and tells the story of 5 boys in the summer of 1983. Using their local playground for a macho game called 'Broncoing', they unwittingly enact the eternal teenager's struggle towards manhood, little realising how abrupt the passage into adulthood can be.
'There are rewards and challenges in equal measure when performing outside,' continues Doherty. 'The biggest challenge is undoubtedly the potential for bad weather which, for a show like this which involves very physical performances, can cause safety issues for the cast – not to mention making the audience a bit uncomfortable if it's a soggy day. But then the biggest reward is performing in a beautiful outdoor space with real life going on all around the play which really adds to the atmosphere and the poignancy of the piece.'
For Doherty, King George V Park is more than just a favourite venue. Living locally, she also uses the space frequently and feels a personal investment in it. ' I think probably the most special thing about performing here last time was watching the kids who regularly played there starting to become protective over the show. They got to know the cast during our rehearsals, and later on during the Fringe run could often be heard in the distance saying the lines or telling one another to pay attention as a favourite bit was coming up. It was really special to feel like a real part of the park's young community.'
The 1-hour-15-minute show has been on tour across England and Scotland since mid-June, but resumes here for the Edinburgh Fringe from 5–21 August. For more information and tickets, contact www.traverse.co.uk or Tel. 228 1404.
(The first photo here [by Keith Brame] is from the show's debut in 2000 and shows Broughton rooftops in the background. The second photo [by Douglas Jones] captures aerobatics in this year's production. All images courtesy of Grid Iron.)