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The Red Lion

by on 2 February 2022

Over the Moon

The Red Lion

by Patrick Marber

Teddington Theatre Club at the Coward Studio, Hampton Hill Theatre, until 5th February

Review by Heather Moulson

Taking us through scenes of Noon, Dusk and Night, we encounter three angry men and a vicious battle of wills, destroying each other and themselves in the Red Lion FC’s team changing room.   Although an intense play, this studio production of The Red Lion evokes these clashing rivalries with hard-edged humour.

Matt Beresford who played Kidd, the ambitious and artful football manager of this non-league team, gave us elements of aggression and desperation.   He was an unforgettable, stage presence, who moved about the stage with an animal instinct. 

The subtler Ian Attfield, playing Yates, the seasoned former manager, who ironed football shirts with pathetic tenderness, was no less sharp.  He commanded the stage with moments of sadness, bitterness, and glimpses of repressed homosexuality.    The static between these actors, whose characters were about to lose everything, was tangible. 

The young hot footballer, Jordan played by Arthur Holmes, came unstuck despite his bright future.  The actor worked hard to keep up with these strong performers and took a while to come into his element, which was worth waiting for.  Together they pulled into a trio of pathos and anger.  Although the basis was essentially grim, we still rooted optimistically for a brighter outcome.   

The direction by David Shortland was sensitive and the lighting designed by Rob Arundel, was atmospheric, particularly when Yates recalled his glory days.  The changing room set designed by Fiona Auty, was thorough and detailed, and truly represented the three men’s core existence.    As Yates said, this was all he had.  There was a poignant moment when Yates packed his tomato sauce and unscrewed his coat hook. 

Despite being a big admirer of the writer, director and actor Patrick Marber, I did not think this was his best work.   Although beautifully handled, I found the text weighty and without his usual crafting.  However, it was impressively brought to life.

Heather Moulson, February 2022

Photography by David Shortland

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  1. Who Killed the Football Manager? | Mark Aspen

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