They are two different worlds, and they are brought comically, poignantly and brilliantly together in Wassail Theatre’s first play The Giants, which started a tour of the south west at the David Hall in South Petherton on 21st January.
Anyone with even a passing interest in the local sports scene will have watched in excitement, disappointment and puzzlement at Yeovil Football Club’s recent history. The Glovers – named for the town’s leather industry – soared to the heights of the Championship, only to plummet on relegation to the bottom of League One, where they now languish.
Will Gore’s play, astonishingly up to date, traces the lives of some of the fans.
There’s a fan who couldn’t make it as a player so began coaching the Under 12s league in the hopes of being spotted by Yeovil Town and called to Huish Park, there’s his girlfriend the sports psychology student and all the team they coach, yclept Real West Coker.
There are two fans who spend every Saturday together on the bench, too wrapped up to realise their loneliness.
There’s the brother and sister who go to Huish Park together
There’s the pair of local radio commentators steeped in the cliches of the game
And of course there is Gary Johnson.
Mr Johnson not only made his fantasy appearance on stage, but also sat in the audience for the opening night, and clearly loved the energy and wit of the play.
It is thrillingly performed by Jack Kelly and Molly Taylor who between them bring to life more than 20 clearly delineated characters into whose lives the audience is inescapably pulled.
There were a few audibility problems on the opening night with the David Hall conformed on flat floor, but when the actors slow down just a little, it will be solved.
Tim Bell from Shanty Theatre directs The Giants with a keen eye for detail, and the actors have taken on the Somerset-ness (accents and all) with great skill.
Audiences are in for a treat with this terrific show, which should attract youngsters who more usually head for the terraces and the local rec.
The second performance of the play will be at the Alec Stock Lounge at Huish Park on Thursday 22nd January, and the tour goes to Yeovil College (28th) and West Coker Village Hall on 31st January, and to the The Brewhouse Theatre in Taunton on 7th February, as well as schools in Somerset. There are Dorset dates at the Marine Theatre in Lyme Regis on Saturday 24th January, and at Poole’s Lighthouse on Friday 30th January.
I might even go to Huish Park now, to drink Bovril with the Glovers’ fans.