Review: Jumpers for Goalposts @ The Wardrobe Theatre

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By Sam Cox, Second Year English

Bristol Old Vic Theatre School brought Tom Wells’ Jumpers For Goalposts to the Wardrobe Theatre for a performance as heartfelt as it was funny, as part of their fortnight-long Directors’ Festival.

In a tightly packed Wardrobe Theatre, Jumpers for Goalposts had the audience on tenterhooks in anticipation of the results from a series of fictional football matches in Hull’s LGBTQ+ pub league.

As the heroes of Barely Athletic seek to balance their personal lives with their weekend five-a-side team, they hope to win a trophy, which they have already bought themselves in optimistic anticipation. Becks Granger’s direction and Robbie McDonnell’s stage design lets the comedy and drama shine through the cramped changing room set, constructed so well that you can almost smell the Lynx body-spray.

The laughs give way to tenderness as conversations around HIV and anti-queer violence threaten to scupper the bond the characters have formed on and off the pitch. The chemistry between the actors is palpable through the laughter and the tears. Peter Burley excels as the grieving ‘token straight guy’ and Josh Penrose channels his character’s vulnerability with a quiet confidence.

However, it is the play’s final scene which leaves the most lasting impression; Max Guest’s Geoff sings Gerry and the Pacemakers’, Liverpool’s call-to-arms anthem, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone.’ This moment has all the makings of the overly-saccharine, but instead closes the play with an inspiring show of solidarity and warmth, reminding you that team-spirit matters just as much off the pitch as on it.

Featured Image: Unsplash / Rob Laughter


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