How Steeple Sinderby Wanderers won the FA Cup

J L Carr, adapted by Paul Hodson
New Perspectives Theatre Company
Gilded Balloon Teviot

J L Carr's novels have long been favourite reading so it comes as no surprise that this delightful adaptation of his fantasy about a non-league football team going all the way is one of this year's Fringe highlights.

In a way, a review is redundant as the show's title rather gives the game away. While the ending might be predictable, the thrills and spills along the way are not.

The story follows a tiny village football team based in the Midlands some time in the 1950s. We watch the player/manager Alex Slingsby build an XI with help from the bluff wealthy chairman, a Hungarian refugee who provides wisdom and our narrator, Joe Gidner.

The play then relives the trip to Wembley round by round, building to a rousing finale as the lads beat Wolverhampton Wanderers, the Manchester United (another conquest) of their day.

In addition to the football journey, Joe and several of the other characters are shown in the round or by clever illustrative touches, in a manner that at times brings to mind Under Milk Wood.

The excellent Mark Jardine plays club secretary Gidner, but also a whole host of other parts, all perfectly distinguished from each other in best Stones in his Pockets fashion.

Reviewer: Philip Fisher