The Prize (3 stars)

This article is from 2012

The Prize

Steve Gilroy and Richard Stockwell's latest not quite living the Olympic dream

Gold and silver are mere split seconds apart. Hair’s breadths. There’s just as little between Olympians and Paralympians: a ladder that slips; a bout of meningitis; an IED underfoot. Life may not be fair, but – as the London 2012 hopefuls and former medallists featured in Steve Gilroy and Richard Stockwell’s verbatim piece demonstrate – it is what you make of it.

Certainly, The Prize gives a real flavour of the thrill of competition and the sacrifice of training, but there’s little here that you can’t get from BBC coverage. An elegant and fluid staging keeps it above Creature Comforts and different speakers are really well juxtaposed, but there’s too little overarching structure for any sort of contention. Golden-ageist ideas about honourable amateurism and concerns for British sport post-2012 aren’t convincingly backed up.

As such, it’s hard to get overly excited about The Prize – a case of nothing ventured, nothing gained. Nonetheless, Gilroy’s production is the most mature and unproblematic handling of disability, gender and race I’ve seen on a UK stage. Gilroy shows us the people, never the bodies – and that alone is medal-worthy.

Underbelly at Bristo Square, 0844 545 8252, until 26 Aug, 2.50pm, £11–£12 (£10–£11).

The Prize - An extract from Live Theatre's Season Launch

The Prize

  • 3 stars

From the team that presented the multi award-winning Motherland - the hit of the Festival 2008 - the inside track into the true stories behind Olympic success. For some making it to London 2012 has been literally a matter of life and death and the struggle is not over yet. The play draws on interviews with past Olympic…