'Jumpers for Goalposts' hits the back of the net for the Rossendale Players
Sometimes touching, often hilarious and always heartwarming, "Jumpers for Goalposts", the latest offering from the Rossendale Players, is a winner.
A comic drama shot through with pathos, the play is a tale of love and loss set in the unlikely arena of five-a-side football.
The team in question, Barely Athletic FC, are just what their name suggests - a ragbag team of friends plying their trade in the Hull Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Pub League.
Kathryn Bland as Viv, the loud, foul-mouthed but ultimately caring player coach of the team, is at the centre of proceedings from the kick-off, haranguing her failing team-mates, and being in possession of most of the funniest lines in the play.
The character is brilliantly played by Kathryn, who reveals a more vulnerable side to Viv, especially in her interaction with her widowed brother-in-law Joe, portrayed with world-weary understatement by Martyn Frost.
Not for the faint-hearted, Viv's dialogue is peppered with industrial language, and to use a football comparison, much like a Neil Warnock team talk. Her ire is invariably targeted at Beardy Geoff, played by Players regular Liam Husband whose droll retorts had the audience in stitches.
The developing love story at the heart of the play - that between the older Danny, a man with some troubling personal demons, and the young, wide-eyed innocent Luke - also manages to weave humour and tragedy.
Stephen Claxon plays Danny perfectly, a man falling in love but struggling to share his secrets, while William Gedling is also brilliant as the shy, bumbling Luke.
All the action centres on the team's changing room where each 'player's' back story unfolds.
Director Mark Storton managed to squeeze out a line-perfect, surpisingly wordy script from his cast who perform Tom Wells' contemporary comedy superbly.
The play runs at the New Millennium Theatre, Burnley Road East, Waterfoot, until Saturday, February 1st, at 7-30pm.