It’s the second show in the first A Play, A Pie and a Pint season for 2021, and what a life- affirming show it is. Penned by Lorna Martin, it focuses on the hard-won career of one Rose Reilly, an Ayrshire lass from a working class background, who challenged the sexism of the 70s and 80s to become a global superstar of football, eventually scoring a winning goal for Italy in the 1984 World Cup final against England.
Written in a warm, witty and conversational style by Martin, this monologue stars Christina Strachan, who addresses the audience as though she were chatting to a friend, creating an energetic, often gallus performance. It’s lovingly directed by Maureen Carr, with even a few keepie-uppies and fine asides. Strachan’s comic timing and enthusiasm is immensely infectious.
As a time capsule of Scotland only accepting women as Sweetheart Stout models, housewives or (at best) news readers, but banning them indefinitely from football’s major leagues, it’s pithy; but grimly recognisable. As a character study, it’s utterly heartfelt. Reilly is portrayed as indefatigable and outspoken, but nuanced, too, stifling her emotions and leaving the bosom of her close family in order to relocate to Milan, where she’s- finally- accepted as a world class player.
The whole pacy production emulates the passion, euphoria and drama of ‘the beautiful game’, but never once takes its eye off the ball.
At Oran Mor until Saturday, 18th September
Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock, from Tuesday, 21st September- Saturday, 25th September
Then at Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, from Tuesday, 28th September-Saturday, 2nd October