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September, 2003
Trust Byron by George Costigan
Niall Costigan
Niall Costigan

The story of a classic literary figure is adapted into a play by George Costigan and performed solo by his son Niall - sounds interesting but does it work?

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Trust Byron is playing at
Burton Taylor Theatre from 24 - 26 September

Tonight I saw a one man play, which is probably the riskiest type of theatre - it's either great or really bad. At first, it was the opening song London Calling that pulled me in, but slowly I got caught up in the controversial world of Lord Byron, portrayed by the handsome Niall Costigan wearing tails with jeans - sounds strange but it worked.

George Costigan took a familiar story and made it just different enough so that it feels like the first time we're hearing it. Byron's words and Costigan's modern rethinking of Byron are so cleverly woven together that they become something new and inspiring.

Niall Costigan chatted with the audience, acknowledged our presence, asked us questions and invited us in to his vivid, Romantic world. I was hooked after the first act: I wanted to know more, not just about Byron's life but his thoughts: how he saw his life and what he thought about how others portrayed him. He made you want to take a chance, to be self-indulgent, to "Live" with a capital L, as he put it.

It's hard to imagine that Byron died when he was only 36 and yet lived such a full life and accomplished so much. I have to admit that I usually don't like theatre that's derivative, but this play is a great rethinking of what Byron means today. It's of a celebration of life, of living to the fullest, telling us that we can do more and should want more, and that there is a glory in taking everything we can get out of life. Whew! If you ever doubted that classic literary figures can't still breathe some life into you, they sure can - Trust Byron.

Reviewed by Rebekah Roy

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