REVIEW: Spion Kop @ Write Now festival, Actors Studio 13/04/11

Liverpool’s Write Now festival is taking place at the intimate Actors Studio on Seel St until Sat 23rd Apr. The festival offers a platform for undiscovered local writing and acting talent with a series of short, one act plays. One play to make the final eight is (the place where we stand) Spion Kop written by Craig Brennan. We sent our reviewer Ste Smith along to the Studio…

As an Evertonian I was sceptical about seeing a play about Liverpool F.C. but admittedly I was more than pleased with what was on offer. The writer Craig Brennan uses a modern day football match at the world famous Liverpool Football Club to tell the origin story of the legendary KOP stand.   

‘SPION KOP’ is two different stories with integrating themes such as friendship, family and football. Directed by Rachael White and written by Craig Brennan. The play illustrates the life of two sets of friends,  one group fighting for their country in 1900 at the battle of Spion Kop, South Africa and the others at a 2010 football match at Anfield stadium, England.

The play starts with a bang! Private Jack Sheppard (Michael Idris) and Private Tommy Draper (Philip Quinn) are holding off gunfire trying to stay their ground whilst waiting for Colour Sergeant John Nolan (Danny Kenwright).  Nolan certainly makes an entrance, sprinting down the small aisle of the Actors Studio and diving on stage to help his men.  This is the darker side of the story, three men facing war, missing their families trying to cope with the only choice they had, fight or work in the workhouses for little money.  

Spion Kop isn’t like other plays, we have two stories going on simultaneously.  The play jumps from 1900 to 2010 with the actors swapping between past and present roles including a quick costume change (not an easy feat).

The lighter side of the story revolves around three friends at a match in 2010; the stereotypical football fanatic Chrissy (Philip Quinn), Andy (Michael Idris) the comic relief and uni boy Rabbit (Danny Kenwright) who is telling his friends all about Spion Kop.  The characters are easily relatable and can be described as an accurate representation of the average male, discussing family, football and friendship, all three actors give a blinding performance showing their versatility in drama and comedy.

A dramatic tale of Liverpool History lightened with witty one-liners and upstanding performances, a great night for reds and blues alike.

For more information on the festival and performance times visit www.writenowfestival.co.uk

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