Re-review: Jumpers for Goalposts, Watford Palace

“If you don’t have a go, you definitely won’t score”

One can re-read a book and re-watch a film on DVD at leisure, but the window for revisiting pieces of theatre, especially those on limited runs, is much narrower and it is a different kind of decision to make. It’s not every play that I want to see again – sometimes the best nights are ones that I don’t want to try and repeat for fear that they won’t live up to expectations – but on occasion, I leave the theatre just knowing that I have to make a return trip. It’s not something I always act on and that way leads regret – I really wish I’d gone back to Tom Wells’ The Kitchen Sink at the Bush Theatre so when I fell head over heels for his latest play Jumpers for Goalposts, I was determined not to make the same mistake again.

My original review can be read here and given that it was less than two weeks ago, there’s not a huge amount more to say about how much I loved it. But what made me want to come back was the detail of the writing, every scene is so rich in comic detail that it was easy to miss some absolute crackers first time round. And since James Grieve’s production is so very effective at generating the intimate banter-filled environment of this group of five people pulled together to play in the Hull Gay and Lesbian five-a-side football tournament, I found real joy in just sitting and listening these characters bounce off of each other.

Throw into that the wonderfully sensitive depiction of the romance between Danny and Luke – Jamie Samuel and Philip Duguid-McQuillan in heart-rendingly lovely form – and it adds up to the kind of theatre that is deeply affecting and quietly powerful. For all the progress that has been made in representations of gay people in popular culture, tales of straightforwardly romantic gay love are still arguably few and far between and even in its somewhat idealised form here, it feels like an important addition to the canon, a significant step to ensuring the representation of all types of gay life on the stage. 

Running time: 90 minutes (without interval)
Playtext cost: £3
Booking until 20th April, a nationwide tour will take place in the autumn

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