Thursday, 18 October 2007

Reviewer of the Month

Over at the Manchester Evening News website, a review of And Did Those Feet is one of the entrants for October's Reviewer of the Month. This was spotted and kindly posted by Joanna over the the Pleased Sheep Forum (Thanks Joanna!).

And Did Those Feet @ Bolton Octagon
Dyan Colclough

THE audience is taken back to a time before footballers became a brand and the game united a community not profit driven entrepreneurs. Bolton Wanderers inclusion in the 1923 FA Cup Final is central to this uplifting play, however its message extends to parallel other unifiers of community.

A few years earlier WWI saw the community waving off their ‘team’ of men folk to fight for King and Country. James Quinn and Susan Twist (Hilda & Alf) brilliantly evoke the full consequences for those left behind when family members paid the ultimate price for victory.

Chris Finch convincingly portrays the spirit of their son whose presence shows the futility of a lost generation.

The Government's failure to deliver its promise of, ‘A land fit for heroes,’ saw soldiers returning to unemployment and social problems.

Here unity is again explored through the energetic and optimistic Jim, (wonderfully characterised by Paul Simpson), who with fellow comrades, believes that Revolution is the way forward. While the likes of Jim are seeking political change others put their faith in the Lord.

Hayley Jane Standing is perfectly cast as Martha a steadfast member of a dwindling congregation whose church is gradually losing its unifying influence.

This is highlighted through the wedding of Martha and Ted (superbly played by Jeff Hordley) which coincides with the cup final and even the vicar, would prefer to spend the day at Wembley.

Bob's enlightening narrative of the team's history throughout the play (captivatingly revealed by Martin Barrass) provides the thread which binds the community to football and Bob's 200 mile walk to Wembley encapsulates the depth of commitment its players exacted from those they represented.

There is no doubting that the audience has its emotions thoroughly exercised throughout this play and leave the theatre as equally united as those Wanderers supporters of 1923.

This is achieved through the collaboration of excellent writing, and directing and faultless casting.


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