In a testosterone filled gymnasium, five actors portray real life boxers and their coaches, unveiling their aspirations, defeats and fond reminiscences. Each personality is exceptional and quirky, with dialogue so nuanced and random that it could only be real.
Roslyn Oades’ trilogy of explorations into acts of courage concludes with this standalone documentary which is connected only by theme and by the use of headphone-verbatim dialogue. This unique process requires the actors to wear headphones and perform spoken dialogue which only they can hear, mimicking the speech patterns of real-life interviewees right down to every cough and mumble.
There’s a shy, defeated Indonesian boxer through to a damaged fighter who can’t control his temper; a Nigerian street brawler to a jolly, almost unintelligible coach and the young Kiwi lad he’s mentoring. The gallery of loveable rogues offer humour, insight and torment as we peak into what makes them tick, all the while following Billy “The Kid” Dib as he pursues his ambition of a World Title fight.
The cast are fit and exceptional. When they’re not speaking, they’re working up a sweat, pumping out push ups and chin ups or cycling, skipping and boxing, keeping the grind of Neil Simpson’s gym setting lively and tough. Michael Mohammed Ahmad, Billy McPherson, Katia Molino, Justin Rosniak and John Shrimpton are all equally good at their roles and accents.
Bob Scott’s effective sound design takes us from the jumping radio tunes that you’d find in most gyms through to atmospheric soundscapes that enhance the mood of the moment.
I’m Your Man is fast paced, intriguing, big hearted and honest but, above all, it’s surprisingly entertaining.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Venue: Waterside, 11 Nile Street, Port Adelaide
Season: 7-11 August 2013
Duration: 70 minutes
Tickets: $22.00 – $32.00
Bookings: Book online through Trybooking.com