28 December 2013

Jumpers for Goalposts at the Bush Theatre

I discovered the Bush Theatre through a theatre company that I am keen on and having discovered it I have now adopted it as one of my "locals". This means that I keep an eye on what is on there and I need an excuse not to go.

There was no excuse not to go to see Jumpers for Goalposts. It sounded quirky (the best adjective for a play, or for anything) and was getting good reviews.

I had spent the afternoon pleasantly in the Liberty Sales (two more shorts acquired) then I took the Central Line out to Shepherd's Bush getting there about an hour before the show. Plenty of time for a bowl of warming and filling soup and then a pint of Chiswick.

With about ten minutes to go I got in to the queue. Which was a mistake. The Bush Theatre has an unusual layout and an unusual way of filling it. Those of us in first where led in to the central section where we could get in to the back four or five rows but not the front two. Only once this central block was filled were people allowed in to the hallowed front rows. So the latecomers got the seat I wanted. I'll have to fix that for next time. And there will be a next time.

As always I had forgotten exactly why I had chosen to see this play and was happy to let that surprise me. The first surprise was revealed when the audience filled out and the young couples I had seen in the bat area were outnumbered by the gay men. So this was a gay play then. I suppose if I had looked at the poster I might have realised that.

The play followed a team, Barely Athletic, in the Hull Pub's LGBT Football League. What a great idea! The LGBT bit was easy but it too a while to get use to the Hull accents.

Having contrived a marvellous setting the play then contrived to pull a lot of humour and charm from it.

There is a love story in there and it is about two men but there is a lot more to it than that. It is a play about five unusually people who become a (not very good) team and it is the natural interactions between them that provide the warmth and laughs.

As they talked after the matches we found out more about them and what made them tick. And the more we learnt the more we liked them.

The humour is just the sort that people share all the time at work and at play and is all the more rewarding for being continuous and low key rather than aiming for some big slapstick  moments. For example, the league table they use to track their progress has one of the team names, "Man City" (good pun), replaced with a simple "Wankers". Another memorable light moment came when they managed to beat fellow struggles "The Trannies" because they had turned up to play drunk and wearing stilettos.

Jumpers for Goalposts was a delightful and uplifting play that would have warmed even the coldest of hearts on the coldest of Winter nights.

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