Written and performed by Andrew and Eve Pearson-Wright, this show is packed full of historical details as it recreates the real story of a football team in the 1800s. Back then, football was played by the working class and gentry separately, with working men playing locally whereas richer men would travel to play for the Football Association. Supported by actors Kyle Rowe and Nicholas Shaw, the four part ensemble give a stellar performance.
Desperate for money and hoping to make football really mean something, well-meaning Robert ‘Bobby’ Kirkland and wife Lucy help to form a team of millworkers from Darwen in Lancashire who go on to play ‘the poshest team of all’, the Old Etonians, in a cup tie. Their success’ earned them the title of the first real 'giant-killers' in English football. The heart of this story is the game against the Old Etonians where the odds are against them. The town comes together to celebrate their success, the game of football able to raise the collective morale.
I thought the show was highly entertaining. I really liked the set design and how three benches were used to create doors, a train or a pub. One of my favourite moments of the show was during the match scene, where netting had been hung around to wooden beam to create the illusion of a goal. When a ball was hit in, the netting was pulled back, imitating a real goal without a single real kick.
At points, I felt that the writing was slightly cliché . This could have been because the characters were narrating the story themselves by addressing the audience, but also because the real story follows the predictable structure of most sporting films. But I didn’t really mind as I was enjoying the show without having to think too hard.
This is a show about class and football, poverty and social unrest. The workers are suffering because of a recent cotton famine, there’s union organising and resistance and protests against social conditions. A show, accessible to both the football obsession and very much not so, ‘The Giant Killers’ does a great job of bring there stories to life.
For tickets and more information visit edfringe.com