Croydonites Festival 2018 review: Scottee’s Bravado

By - Friday 25th May, 2018

A glimpse of toxic masculinity delivered in a space belonging to men

Photo by Scottee, used with permission.

Disclaimer: I programmed this work for Croydonites Festival.

Scottee’s Bravado is a show performed in masculine spaces. This is because it deals with men and violence, toxic masculinity, abuse and assault. It packs a powerful punch, and the backdrop of a boxing gym, a locker room or a strip club serves to enhance that.

We were hosted by the Croydon Boxing Academy in the town centre. The brochure copy warns: “This show is not for the weak-hearted – it includes graphic accounts of violence, abuse, assault and sex”. This message was repeated on signs Blu-tacked to the walls. Even before this however, anyone buying a ticket is told that “this show may not be suitable for those still processing abuse”. The message is clear.

It’s brutal, but we understand why

Bravado is divided into sections that include blood, sweat and tears. Oasis songs play and the audience is invited to sing along, which we do. Scottee is an LGBT activist and theatre maker and this monologue is his personal memoir of growing up on a council estate in Kentish Town during the 1980s. His work is characterised by a searing honesty and a desire to tell painful truths often ignored. Bravado is no different.

We learn about his family, who loved him but also let alcohol turn to violence. We learn about the boys on the estate who are at first friends but then turn into abusers. Finally we learn about the revenge that Scottee would like to serve back to his peers. It’s brutal, but we understand why. It doesn’t sound like a very good night out, but it is.

Anna Arthur

Anna Arthur

Anna Arthur is a mum of three, dog owner and director of Croydonites Festival of New Theatre. Born in the north-east, she grew up just outside of Portsmouth but London and Croydon have been her home for over 20 years. She also works in contemporary dance, but don’t hold that against her.

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