Fresh from a critically acclaimed run at the Adelaide Fringe last month, the one-woman piece Bitch Boxer is back in the UK. Holly Augustine returns as talented boxer Chloe – a 21-year-old from Leytonstone, who’s been fighting all her life and isn’t going to stop now.
Set in early 2012, Chloe lives a stone’s throw from the Olympic park and excitement is mounting in her boxing gym when it’s revealed that for the first time ever, female boxers will be able to compete in the Olympic Games. Chloe is determined to take part. And with her dad and trainer at her side, surely nothing can stop her?
Except it can. When her dad suddenly dies, Chloe is left fighting through her grief to keep pushing for her place in the Olympics – the biggest match of her life: her new dream.
Set against a backdrop of cherry sambuca and boyfriend woes, Bitch Boxer is an extraordinary tale of how any angry young woman from north London is unable to stop fighting – whether in the ring, in the home or anywhere else.
Director Bryony Shanahan makes sure Augustine is in every inch of the chalked out boxing ring set for every minute of the performance. And the rivulets of sweat pouring down Augustine’s face are testament to the amount of physical energy she is putting into this. Augustine barely keeps still, whether jabbing, ducking or dancing, she’s seeping out energy and passion during the hour-long show – all the while delivering Charlotte Josephine’s high-tempo script without a flaw in sight.
Bitch Boxer is a time-honoured coming of age tale, but more than that, it is also an important story about the way women’s place in society is changing. In 2012, women were able to box in the Olympics for the first time… and that’s a huge step forwards for women to be seen as equal to men.
Bitch Boxer is Augustine’s professional debut, and through this performance she shows us that like Chloe, she’s fighting for the things she loves.