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Theatre Review: Not A Game For Girls

By Richard Johnston | 19th June 2017

Laura Castle and Hannah Jade Robbins

Laura Castle and Hannah Jade Robbins

This charming play deserves the attention of as many people as possible. This is principally owing to the timeless humanity of the story but it doesn’t matter if you like football or not; in fact, it’s likely to kindle an interest in football that was never there before! Such is the power of the story re-told by Benjamin Peel. Not a Game for Girls is moving and inspiring and, for what it’s worth, I believe would prick the conscience of any man, no matter how progressive, into remembering and acknowledging the shackles that our sex presumed to impose onto our female equals. I felt complete shame, despite my own personal progressive mentality, for this unavoidable association to the dinosaurs of my sex.

Not a Game for Girls has a strong story base and although some of the ideas in the play’s progression are a tad undeveloped and linear, as well as some directive stutters, this production of the story very much succeeded in entertaining. The cast were fantastic throughout and full marks are deserved with regards to the casting choices. When the play opens we are introduced to Betty Williams (Sonia Di Lorenzo); Jessie Walmsley (Georgia Smith) and Florrie Redford (Kirsty Edwards) who maintain their charm and character very well, throughout the production. The debut of Alice Woods (Hannah J Robbins) and Lily Parr (Laura Castle) injected energy and dynamism to the cast and both actors were brilliant throughout. Further strong performances followed in the guise of Madelaine Ourry (Natalie C Brimicombe), Mrs Parr (Samantha Hindman), Mrs Woods (Victoria Delaney) and Soldier et al (Edie Palmer). This trio cemented the cast together beautifully. Last, but not least, the cast was completed with the male roles of Len Williams (Richard Thirlwall), Alfred Frankland (Keir Brown), Herbert Stanley (Guy Matthews), Jack Holmes (Matthew Wignall). The boys played their part admirably but it was, most definitely, a show stolen by the talented ladies of the production!

Relationships and their subsequent dynamics are of great significance in this play. The cast and director (Alison Young) deserve much credit for developing the reality and compassion within these interactions. I feel that I should particularly mention: the lovely friendship between the football team members, especially that of Alice Woods and Lily Parr; the portrayed paternal purity of manager Alfred Frankland with his team; the sweet bond between Herbert Stanley and Alice Woods and finally, the journey that Lily Parr travels whilst exploring her sexuality.

The play adopted some musical and dance themes which I felt worked well in the production. I was particularly impressed with the dancing of Sonia Di Lorenzo and Kirsty Edwards in their “flapper” routine. It is also fair to mention the effective contribution of the video and images on the rear stage wall; well thought out by director Alison Young and Blue Tomato Studio.

I would happily watch this play again tomorrow and, although the run of this play is very short, I recommend that you catch any further production of the play.

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