Note: This review is from the 2019 Fringe

Go anywhere in the world, and there is a national sport. A legacy, held in esteem, equal to that of religion. The Canadians have ice-hockey, us Scots enjoy a round of golf or shinty. For Ireland, hurling places you in a league of their own. A hard-hitting insight into an unfamiliar sport, Spliced fearlessly tackles the toxic masculine stereotypes bred into Ireland.

Writer & performer Timmy Creed seeks identity, not one defined by his sport or his place within a team. One he can call his own. With hurling comes notoriety, fame and reverence one may see in footballers in England with this a hollow feast of drugs, drink and women. An autobiographical drama, enlightening the colossal powers which tether men to an archaic sense of bravado, and its lacking capabilities to cope with vulnerability or creativity outside of its masculine understanding.

Few directors grasp the national identity bestowed upon these sports, or indeed the impact of sporting organisations like the GAA on Irish history than Gina Moxley. Staged in the Edinburgh Sports Club, its walls contain the aggressive frustrations, as no matter how hard Creed kicks or climbs he remains in a neat, tidy and ‘secure’ box.

Volatile in explosive aggression, Creed demonstrates not only the physical requirements of this piece, repeatedly throwing himself against the walls, but communicates the impact of masculine stereotypes on mental health. Tossing and turning, gradually his movements evolve in fluidity as he begins to discover different avenues of virility, adding pressure to fears of what ‘the lads’ might think.

Creed’s story, while individual, fails to bring much else to the table other than shedding light onto a different national sport. This typical narrative of men under the constant control of toxic masculinity sits too comfortably among others similar to the sort.