The play focuses on a five-a-side football team, playing (and usually losing) in a local gay league. At its heart, though, the football is really just a backdrop to explore themes of friendship, camaraderie and young love. In particular the blossoming relationship between “assistant coach” Danny and the shy, naive Luke, who is plucked from his librarian job to play on the team. It takes Danny ages to pluck up the courage to ask Luke out, but it all goes swimmingly, until Danny’s secret is revealed and threatens to derail things before they’ve even got off the ground.
The cast is excellent, especially Jamie Samuel and Philip Duguid-McQuillan as the two young lovers. A nice additional touch comes from a recording of former BBC Radio 5 Live announcer, James Alexander Gordon, reading out the results of the weekly games between Barely Athletic and Tranny United.
I don’t think it’s too spoilery to say that the play ends with a rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone. It’s a song which has emotional connotations at the best of times, but in the context of the play’s denouement I found myself choking back tears.
I glanced over at Ian and saw that he had his face in his hands. I wasn’t quite sure why so, as we walked to the Underground station, I asked him about it.
Got a bit tearful during the ace Jumpers for Goalposts at the Bush Theatre; @Hampo, afterwards: "Were you tired in there, or just bored?"
— Ian Jones (@metro_land) December 30, 2013
Yes, I’m still having difficulty with that whole “comprehending other people’s emotions” thing.
“Jumpers for Goalposts” ends its run on Saturday, but keep an eye out for it making a comeback in the future. I highly recommend it.