Total Football, the new show from comedy duo Ridiculusmus, opens on 19 May (previews from 18 May) at the Barbican. As sports world bigwigs prepare to descend on East London for next year’s Olympic Games, it examines what it means to be British today through its own take on the country's combined failings at football.

An international affair David Woods and Jon Haynes have been co-commissioned by Barbican (the venue which staged a celebratory series of the company’s first 15 years of innovative performance in 2008) in association with Belfast Festival at Queens, the National Theatre Wales and the National Theatre of Scotland.

Following the Barbican run, Total Football will embark on a national tour of what are sometimes referred to as “the home countries”. The duo gave us their five reasons to see the show.


1. It's about football

A subject rarely touched upon in plays. The fact that there is hardly any actual football in the play is a very good reason to see it, certainly for 99% of theatregoers who don't like football anyway.

2. Understand why England always lose

Break out of the cycle of delusion and grief that is following the home nations at major football competitions with a reality check based on Gross Domestic Product, population size and experience, and be inspired by the example of perennial overachievers Norway.

3. You may learn something

We explain various football moves and rules, for example: the nutmeg, the lollipop, the offside rule and the shoulder feint. In the light of ‘Offsidegate’ it is critical for any thinking person to be able to demonstrate, illustrate and clearly explain this fundamental building block of society.

4. Apply the "Tikka takka" or Total Football System in your own community as a means of social change and inclusion

Gone are the days of muddy pitches and the skilful players being banished to the touchlines, learn to transform your personal 4-4-2 rigidity into a fluid interchangeable approach that celebrates flair with a manageable level of risk.

5. It is likely to make you laugh

Or at least smile, and in times of austerity such as ours this is not at all a bad thing.


Total Football opens at the Barbican on 19 May (previews from 18 May) where it runs to 18 June.