The Red Lion by Patrick Marber Trafalgar Studios 14 Whitehall London SW1A 2DY
Wednesday 1st November - Saturday 2nd December 2017
The Red Lion
The Red Lion is a powerful, funny and touching locker room drama that reaches beyond the beautiful game, exploring contrasting ideas about loyalty, ambition and what it takes to win, from the perspectives of three different generations.
Director Max Roberts' new version, set in the dressing room of a semi-professional football club in the North East, is transferring to London following the highly successful, sell out run, at Live Theatre in Newcastle. The production is brought to life by Stephen Tompkinson (Spamalot, West End; DCI Banks; Drop the Dead Donkey), John Bowler (It Just Stopped, The Orange Tree; Operation Elvis, RSC/Almeida; DCI Banks) and Dean Bone (The Terminal Velocity of Snowflakes, Live Theatre; The Savage, Live Theatre; Vera, ITV) who will be reprising their roles.
Max Roberts, also Artistic Director of Live Theatre, comments, Whilst the play is inherently accessible, full of salty dialogue and laugh out loud set pieces its lyrical qualities to my mind seem to be enhanced by the north-east vernacular brought vividly to life by Stephen Tompkinson, John Bowler and Dean Bone who also compellingly represent the characters emotional complexity.
Through Marber's own personal experiences with non-league football, The Red Lion goes far beyond the pitch to look at hope, obsessions and the desperation of humanity to be a part of something. It is a piece that resonates in contemporary society - the two older characters are conflicted representatives of a pre and post 1980s, one possessing a sensibility formulated by a before-Thatcher England, the other by its aftermath. In the middle a youngster is dealing with that fall out.
Patrick Marber comments, To an extent the play is dramatising something about England; that there is one strain of thought which is about community, tolerance and belonging, and there is another which represents a whole counter trajectory about what England could or should be; that England is a business.
Football does not feel like a metaphor for life in director Max Roberts' intense and heartfelt production of Patrick Marber's 2015 play, The Red Lion. Though Marber may use it as such, Roberts' production overrides these cliches. It's a passionate staging with an accomplished cast. (The Stage).
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