We're in Liverpool during
1989, in the company of 14-going-on-15 year-old Greg. He lives on a
sink estate (known locally as The Boot) and is in trouble at school, unhappy
at home – his mum has walked out and Dad is left to brood – mad
about football and ignorant about the mechanics of sex as evinced by
those alien creatures – girls, gay men and paedophiles. He has one
real friend, asthmatic Tom.
monologue gets inside the skin of Greg, as he rages against the world
around him without the vocabulary to express all the nuances of that
anger, so that expletives stand in for everything, the important and
the trivial alike. James Cooney gives a very good performance,
immensely physical as the narrative builds up to the Hillsborough
Stadium disaster. The relentless beat of music with as small a
dynamic scale as the restricted idiom in which Greg communicates
underlines the action.
It's physical theatre
in one sense as Steven Atkinson has directed Cooney and Georgina
Lamb has choreographed it. The stage is bare, excepting heaps of old
clothes which serve as rudimentary goalposts on a chalked-out pitch.
This symbolic waste-ground stands for all that's wrong with Greg's
existence; even the thieving and cheating which gain him a coveted
ticket to the fatal match is ludicrously flawed.
I suspect that audience
members who know about football and who can fathom the intricacies of
the Liverpool accent and dialect will get most from this intensely
concentrated play. It will be seen at this year's HighTide Festival
in May as the culmination of a short spring tour.