Paul Hodson’s humorous adaptation of J.L.Carr’s novel will resonate with those who have witnessed or even achieved sporting success against all the odds. The play is set in a time before the modern era of massive media involvement and the excessive salaries paid to the top players drawn from all over the world. It harks back to a time when football was simpler and more basic, and, indeed, when there were more characters in the game.
Mark Jardine’s lively, solo performance expertly catches the mood of the times and the personalities of the key individuals who lead this village team from obscurity to national success. In team sport it is usually the case that the arrival together of several charismatic figures provides the essential spark to galvanise and inspire more ordinary individuals to raise their game. Not least amongst these characters is the Club Chairman, Mr Fangfoss, who is not above a little bit of gamesmanship to help achieve the right outcome.
Of course, the play has a definite predictability and the ending feels somewhat contrived, but it is an enjoyable and unusual piece of theatre, particularly for football fans.
Reviewed by Ben
Gilded Balloon Teviot – Dining Room: 14
3 to 29 August 2011 (not 16)
13.15 – 14.30
Fringe Programme Page Number: 269