Review: Historic play one of my favourites

The sound of Clapton Orient fans ringing out in The Greater Game play at the Southwark Playhouse gave us an instant connection to the story.

A hundred years on from the Battle of the Somme where three of the team, now known as Leyton Orient’s, best players died, Richard ‘Mac’ McFadden, William Jonas and George Scott, the star-studded cast featuring Charlie Clements and Nick Hancock brought home just how many were affected.

It begins with a scene from the Western Front where Noland ‘Peggy’ Evans, who is played by Benidorm’s Danny Walters, signs off with ‘how did we end up here?’ A poignant question which enticed the audience.

The rest of the first half followed suit with a flashback to when Mac and Jonas became best friends back in Newcastle and when Mac was first signed for the O’s for £150.

It then went on to show with what so significant about the Football Battalion, which was the instant bond and banter between teammates and the manager.

Orient was one of the top team at the time playing the likes of Fulham and Burnley and Mac scored 21 goals in his first season.

Watching the story unfold to the day they all signed up for war en mass was gripping as we were transported into 1914 when everyone thought the conflict would be over by Christmas.

Billy Holmes, the then manager for Clapton, said: “You are all heroes” and back then they were not just heroes for their country but for the fans and for the O’s.

Writer Michael Head, who also played Herbert ‘Jumbo’ Reason, intricately wrote the first and opening scene of the second half to connect the dots, how did they get there?

Another plotline showed how the wives and family coped back home such as Isabella Mac and Mary-Jane Jonas, portrayed by Laura Webb and Patsy Lowe.

And the regular updates sent from the team captain Fred ‘Spider’ Parker to the gaffer Holmes about their efforts on the front line.

The stage was perfectly set, in the round, so the audience felt part of the group and there was light relief for everyone watching and for the cast too in the character of Jimmy Hugall.

Hugall was the comedian, who played in goal for the O’s and having survived the war continued to play for the team.

As soon as the plot unfolded you felt as though you were an O and you were there with them which was an interesting set-up.

Many are affected by the tragedies of World War One to this day and you do not need to be an Orient fan to appreciate the hard work and detail that has went into the play from director Tilly Vosburgh and the entire cast.

A lot of people did not know what they were in for when they told to fight for King and Country and each scene hits you with a harsh reality and some tender and cherished moments.

Star Rating: *****

This was a review from a play I reviewed back in October. Unfortunately, I do not think they are touring at the moment but I do hope this comes back at some point.

It was a delight to watch.

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My blog has fallen off the wagon as of late

Hello,

So, my last post was from Carlisle and I have since been to a few more away matches.

The new plan going forward is to start from next Saturday on my away day to Portsmouth.

The end of the year was super busy! But hopefully, I can keep this up-to-date as much as possible!

I have also decided to take part in a Tudor online course so may also keep you updated with that too. (Signed up in October, it is now January)

Until then,

Shona x

Ankara

Landing in the Turkish capital I was filled with instant dread and excitement all at once.

One of my dearest friends was getting married and I did not want to miss her big day, but the fact we flew over a mere three weeks after a political coup did not put my mind at rest.

As soon as you stepped out of the Airport you could see everyone was eager to pledge their allegiance to Erdogan but most of all their allegiance to being a democratic country.

Turkish flags draped down the side of every building and hung from every balcony to show their utmost support.

But what people fail to remember and do not wish to see is how truly beautiful the city is.

It is one of the most ancient cities on our planet and was ranked in the top 25 places to visit around the world.

Not everyone is walking the streets at demonstrations or rallies they are continuing with their day to day lives, opening their businesses, drinking there Turkish teas and celebrating marriages.

Do not get me wrong, I was one of those people who instantly thought the city would be crazy, but I was instantly proved wrong.

It’s culture and history swept my eyes before I knew it and the five calls a day to attend the mosque sounded in my ears.

I find it a true shame that a remarkable beautiful city and country is attracting less visitors due to the nature of the coup but at the same time understand why so many fear travelling there.

While controversy still surrounds as to who launched the coup, no one can take away how friendly the Turks are.

They will greet you, cook food for you, embrace you as one of their own while you learn their own dance and all about their homemade delights.

I would recommend visiting the city as you can truly embrace within their culture and also visit a water park while you are at it too!

 

 

Hello and welcome to my blog!

Hi everyone,

So I am a sports reporter and I absolutely love my job but I also have a healthy obsession with travel and the excitement it brings.

While this mostly will be a travel blog I will upload some lifestyle pieces as well as my favourite sport articles.

I am venturing off to New York next month, one of my favourite places in the world. Not only is it breathtaking, it is steeped in history which makes it a remarkable place and I will be blogging about my trip whilst I live it up like a New Yorker – cheap pizza all round.

But what is most important is if you have ever thought of taking that extra step and doing that something a little bit scary DO IT. Nothing worth doing isn’t a little scary. It is also exciting,

I’ll leave you with Muhammad Ali’s wit and wisdom: Don’t count the days, make the days count.

Until next time!

Shona x