REVIEW: Leaner Faster Stronger, Crucible Studio - by David Dunn

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WHEN athletes from virtually every nation on earth arrive in London to compete in the Olympics how much will we know of what has gone into their journey?

This smart new play seeks to get under the Lycra of those whose medal dreams consume their lives and often those around them.

Kaite O’Reilly’s agile script bristles with detail gleaned from impeccable research and released at a pace that leaves us in the round feeling as if we’ve been mentally sent across the hurdles.

It could be argued LFS tries to pack too much in having already shot-put its points, but a dynamic cast of four in multiple roles combine with Andrew Loretto’s slick direction to deliver an engaging 75-minute examination of what it means to be an athlete, to know one and where the hunger for victory combined with technology may take our species.

Ben Addis (boxer), Christopher Simpson (runner), Morven Macbeth (gymnast) and Kathryn Dimery (commentator/mind) switch between playing experts at a sports conference and examples of those they’re discussing. Aided by Shanaz Gulzar’s innovative set design, they put issues such as sacrifice, ambition, obsession, human limitation and expectation, sport commercialisation and failure through their paces.

The result is an eye-opening Chol Theatre collaboration that vividly challenges the romance and spectacle of the Olympics by exposing the raw human cost to those aspiring a podium place. Finish line: June 2.