Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Theatre review: Bitch Boxer

A couple of sports-themed monologues are sharing the Upstairs space at Soho Theatre at the moment. The first slot goes to writer-performer Charlotte Josephine, whose Bitch Boxer follows Chloe, a female boxer from Leytonstone, in the run-up to London 2012, the first Olympics to include women's boxing. Chloe's attempts to qualify are complicated by two major events in her personal life - the death of her father follows close on the heels of her falling in love with a boy he didn't approve of.

Josephine makes for a likeable performer whose comic (if a bit hackneyed) opening story of getting locked out of the house in her underwear gives way to some darker emotions and complicated life choices that have to be made.

As a young writer she also shows promise although she's not quite there yet - her occasional attempts to lend a poetic note to her script actually end up more like heavy-handed rhymes and alliteration. And her rare forays into slipping into different characters feel a bit underdone - I'd rather have either seen her stay as Chloe throughout, or go full-on into a variety of personas, but Bitch Boxer lands her somewhere in the middle.


But the parts of the show that do work are certainly worth a look. If the writing still needs work in some areas, in others it shows a strong gift for metaphor, imbuing a lot of significance into a pair of trainers for instance. And director Bryony Shanahan has marshaled a good performance out of Josephine, who has a great line in comedy facial expressions as well as some more understatedly moving moments in a character who feels pretty real and relatable.

Bitch Boxer by Charlotte Josephine is booking until the 9th of March at Soho Theatre Upstairs.

Running time: 55 minutes straight through.

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