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The Beautiful Game - Union Theatre

Niamh Perry

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

OVER 12 years after it was seen in the West End, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Ben Elton’s The Beautiful Game will receive its first London revival at the Union Theatre, where it runs from April 8 (previews from April 3) to May 3, 2014.

John and Del are just two regular teenagers who dream of nothing more than girls and football. And under the watchful eye of their local soccer team coach Father O’Donnell, they both show enough promise to pursue careers as professional footballers. But as political tensions begin to engulf their community, they have more than the fortunes of their team to worry about.

Set against the backdrop of the political troubles in Northern Ireland in the early 1970’s, The Beautiful Game is the story of an ordinary group of teenagers in an extraordinary situation. With a stirring and evocative score from Andrew Lloyd Webber, this ‘powerful and passionate’ musical is a joyous celebration of the freedom that love can bring.

Niamh Perry, a finalist in BBC’s primetime talent show I’d Do Anything, stars as Mary. She most recently played Johanna in Sweeney Todd at West Yorkshire Playhouse and Manchester Royal Exchange. Her other recent credits include A Song Cycle for Soho (Soho Theatre), the title role in The Little Prince (Lyric Theatre Belfast), Kim in the Boy George musical Taboo (Brixton Clubhouse) and Sophie in Mamma Mia! (Prince of Wales Theatre). She also originated the role of Fleck in Love Never Dies (Adelphi Theatre).

The cast also features Ben Kerr (as John), Stephen Barry (Del), Daniella Bowen (Christine), Freddie Rogers (Thomas), Will Jeffs (Daniel), Alan McHale (Ginger), Natalie Douglas (Bernadette) and Carl McCrystal (Father O’Donnell).

Completing the cast are Tom Brandon-Farrell, Leigh Lothian, Shane McDaid, Joanna O’Hare and Charlie Royce.

The Beautiful Game is directed by Lotte Wakeham, currently Associate Director of Matilda in the West End and on Broadway. Her recent credits as Director include Lizzie Siddal (Arcola Theatre), The Other School (NYMT at St James Theatre), The Kissing-Dance (Jermyn Street Theatre) for which she was nominated for Best Director at the Off West-End Awards, and comedy show Before They Were Famous for BBC Radio 4.

The production is choreographed by Tim Jackson, whose recent work includes Merrily We Roll Along (Menier Chocolate Factory/Harold Pinter Theatre) and The Other School (NYMT at St James Theatre).

Musical direction is by Ben Holder and design by David Shields, with musical supervision by Tom Kelly and casting by Will Burton. It is produced by Kylie Vilcins for PTM Ltd.

The Beautiful Game originally opened at the Cambridge Theatre in September 2000 and ran until September 2001. During its run the show was awarded the prestigious Best Musical Award in the Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards.

Tickets: £20, £18 concessions – available from the box office on 020 7261 9876 or online at www.ticketsource.co.uk/uniontheatre.

Times: Tuesday to Saturday at 7.30pm, Saturday and Sunday at 2.30pm.

Finian’s Rainbow continues at the Union Theatre until March 15, 2014.