The premise of Trick Boxing might sound familiar—unscrupulous manager transforms a naive immigrant into a boxing sensation—but Sossy Mechanics presents the tale in a way that is anything but expected.
Husband-and-wife team Megan McClellan and Brian Sostek have been tinkering with this piece for over a decade, contracting and expanding it at fringe festivals across the country. The nearly 90-minute version that played only two shows at Out of the Loop is a buoyant blend of dance, drama, humor, and puppetry, and a marvelously charming experience to boot (there are rumors the duo might be enticed back to DFW).
Sostek sheds and adopts five different personas in whiplash fashion. One second he’s Bill Buck, a smooth-talking boxing manager who spots a fleet-footed apple seller, and the next he’s Dancing Danny David, Buck’s newly created protege. Switching back and forth with remarkable clarity, Sostek inhabits these and the other personalities with ease.
McClellan mainly plays Bella, and her tough-cookie dancing girl is just the right mix of sass and vulnerability. While Danny learns about boxing at the gym, Bella teaches him about romance on the dance floor. These playful swing dancing routines allow the couple to float across the stage with an exuberant joy, a feeling that’s infectious to the audience. “Knockout” has more than one meaning here.
See it? Only if you’re a time traveler. But if Sossy Mechanics happens to stage an encore, you should absolutely dance your way on over.