Wednesday, 26 October 2016

The Season Ticket

Dundee Rep
Three stars

It's a black and white world for Gerry, the football daft fifteen year old who forms the heart of Lee Mattinson's play, adapted from Jonathan Tulloch's novel and filmed as Purely Belter sixteen years ago. Gerry came into that world kicking and screaming, and he's been kicking and screaming ever since. This is the case whether it's in reaction to the brutality he's grown up with while holed up in a Gateshead housing estate with his mum Dee and sister Claire, or whether it's for Newcastle United, the team that has become the saviour of Gerry and his pal Sewell. If only they could experience the communal thrill of a game first hand, their lives would be complete.

This is how the pair end up embarking on a fundraising spree that includes breaking and entering their head teacher's house and 'twocking' – stealing - anything they can lay their hands on in order to be able to afford a pair of season tickets. Things don't go to plan for the lads, alas, in Katie Posner's slightly sprawling production for Northern Stage and Pilot Theatre.

Scenes are punctuated by a recorded commentary, while references are updated to include Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley and manager Rafael Benitez. The show is carried by Niek Versteeg and Will Graham as Gerry and Sewell, who lead a six-strong cast in what becomes a classic quest for heroes, even if Gazza and Alan Shearer are long past their prime. The result is an unsentimental rites of passage that takes in the darker edges of fractured family life, but still manages to offer some kind of hope.

The Herald, October 27th 2016

ends

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