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Home arrow Archive: Earlier Fringes arrow Archive: Buxton 2011
Big Daddy Vs Giant Haystacks
Published on Monday, 27 June 2011


Arts Centre - Studio
13, 15 Jul, 10:00pm-11:15pm; 14, 16 Jul, 6:30pm-7:45pm


If you’re over the age of about 35, Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks will need no introduction.  If you’re not, prepare to be amazed by this award-winning memoir of the glory days of British wrestling – when two ageing, overweight gladiators pretended to fight every Saturday, in front of an adoring public, live on ITV.

When we caught this show’s debut at the Brighton Fringe, we guessed we’d be entertained; we hadn’t expected to be so moved.  Beating off strong competition to win Brighton’s best-actor award, Ross Gurney-Randall made a deeply touching Big Daddy, a man of simple emotions caught amidst the hype of an overwhelming world.  David Mounfield excelled too as his bullying yet caring brother Max – and the two men take on dozens of extra roles during the course of the story, with a handful of supremely witty pastiches to enjoy along the way.

We did find the Brighton show a little on the long side, so we’re excited by the prospect of this shorter, sharper version.  For all that it’s bizarre, it’s a story worth telling – and it’s told with both humour and respect.  It picked up one of our Editors’ Choice awards for its Brighton outing, and we expect it to travel well: so we’ve high hopes for another success as it journeys north.

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These are archived reviews of shows from Buxton 2011.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.