'Awesome heroic adventure' - Bryan Burroughs in Beowulf: The Blockbuster
'Awesome heroic adventure' - Bryan Burroughs in Beowulf: The Blockbuster
© Amanda Gentile

An Old English verse masterpiece has prompted a new Irish re-telling - and it's not Seamus Heaney's great rendition, either - as the story of a super-hero played by Sean Connery.

Not Connery himself, but actor Bryan Burroughs "doing" Connery as Beowulf, striding through Hrothgar's Hall, wielding his light sabre to ward off the evil eye, and specifically the ghastly Grendel, a monster who has turned the warriors' social centre into a scene of carnage and despair... this is a job not only for Beowulf, but also Luke Skywalker, Indiana Jones and Bruce Lee.

All are referenced by Burroughs who is recounting the saga to his nine year-old son first of all in the language of cinematic super-heroes because that's all he understands; but gradually the conceit takes hold and this becomes the best way of telling the story anyway. It's certainly the best way for a widowed father to bond with the boy.

Yes, the name's Bond, James Bond, but only fleetingly. Bare-footed, shaven-headed Burroughs channels his own text as an expressive dancer, making moves that are both liquid sculpture and hieratic gesture suitable for the epic dimension in Beowulf. Once Grendel's had his armed ripped off, there's his old mother to contend with. And, after her, the most terrifying dragon imaginable.

The light sabre defines the look of David Horan's production, too, a rectangular floating screen, trimmed with coloured neon, which provides both a cinematic setting for Burroughs's mission of paternity and a galactic landscape for his awesome heroic adventure.

Beowulf: The Blockbuster runs at the Pleasance Courtyard until 24 August

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