Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

At Made in Wales

Made in Wales Stage Company- Football , Venue 13 : RWCMD , August 17, 2004
At Made in Wales by Made in Wales Stage Company- Football As the publicity makes clear, Lewis Davies's new play, Football, is a spin on Art covering questions about the way the market distorts values and friendships alike. Clive is a drunk who is getting bitter. He's missed his chance while his two university friends have succeeded beyond expectation. Although he started not knowing how to make cheese on toast and totally bemused by Clive's love of football, Martin is now a celebrity chef who has spent 175 Euros on David Beckham's shirt, and although Kate knows little about football she is now the Sports editor of a major daily. Clive is the only one with real talent and real love of the game and the only one of the three who seems to have failed in life. Yet as the play progresses, it's clear that neither Jase not Kate have geninely successful lives. It's obvious that these 'friends' only meet for old times' sake and have nothing in common anymore and even the pretext for the meeting - the shirt - symbolises totally different things to each of them.

The dialogue is sharp and combatative, a series of of one line exchanges as if the speakers are passing and repassing a ball and never getting to goal. Lots of interesting questions spinning out from the distorting influence of the market on the meaning of sport and of art, on the notion of authenticity and friendship, trust, on the relations of style, celebrity and charity.

Pete Bodenham's minimalist set takes 'uncluttered' to a new extreme when Jase stops Clive messing up the room by sitting on the only chair. This obsession with appearance results in the characters moving uneasily in the space, their only fixity being the precious football shirt hanging in the centre of the room.

Hywel Morgan convinces as the ruined Clive, his face acquiring the puffy, collapsed quality of an alcoholic; Martin Cole is the suave and handsome Jase, all smooth surface but with a hidden anxious side; Suzanne Proctor makes an snappy, uptight Kate, tapping her black and white high-heels, patronised at work despite her success, wanting her own back on all the men who've betrayed her.

It's a solid, interesting play of ideas and although there's a light surface there's suggestion of a lot more darkness. It will be good to see how it's developed by the time it gets to Cardiff.

Directed by Jeff Teare

Reviewed by: Jeni Williams

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