The Benny Lynch Story: 'We don't really hide anything in the play: it has the good times and the bad times'
- Gareth K Vile
- 19 June 2019
Stephen Purdon discusses donning the gloves of the iconic Scottish boxer in this biopic about Lynch's career and personal demons
'He's a Scottish icon and it's a true story. When I read the script, I was drawn to it; it's out of my comfort zone, a challenge!' Known as Shellsuit Bob from BBC's River City, Stephen Purdon is excited about his return to the stage as legendary Scottish boxer Benny Lynch. 'It's a rags to riches thing, and then back to rags,' he says. 'He was a world champion, then he lost it all and died very young.'
Lynch's tale has elements of tragedy and contemporary documentary drama, with his rising from the slums to international fame before dying at only 33 from malnutrition. 'It is important to remember Scottish icons,' Purdon continues. 'There is a dark side to the story – he had a lot of demons – but to have it told in 2019 is educational. He is one of our own, from the Gorbals. We don't really hide anything in the play: it has the good times and the bad times.'
With Scottish theatrical icon David Hayman playing Lynch's trainer, and Simon Weir, recently seen in Trainspotting 2, as Tash, 'the Gorbals' sage', this production promises an intense reminder of one man's astonishing life, successes and ultimate decline into violence, alcoholism and crime.
Eastwood Park Theatre, Glasgow, Thu 27 Jun, The Brunton, Musselburgh, Fri 28 Jun; and touring