Review: Diary of a Football Nobody

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FOOTBALL has rarely been portrayed very successfully in the world of theatre or, more particularly, film.

Think ‘Escape to Victory’ and you will see what I mean.

But the new production at Nottingham Playhouse, ‘Diary of a Football Nobody’, has a clever solution to getting round any potential problems of trying to act out a football match.

A ball is never once seen on stage and any sporting action is represented by the actors getting into formation and jostling around as if playing or training.

This works well because though football is the theme of the play, rather than being its be all and end all, it is the vehicle used to explore the trials and tribulations of the central character, David McVay.

McVay was a professional footballer who played for Notts County in the 1970s and the story is based on the diaries he kept at that time and which have been published in the book, ‘Steak...Diana Ross: Diary of a Football Nobody’.

The book has been adapted for the stage by Nottingham writer William Ivory, himself an avid Notts County fan, but before dismissing the play as just for football fans, or more specifically, Notts County fans, stop - because its appeal is much wider than that.

The characters and events may be more familiar to Notts fans, but everyone can relate to the life experiences that McVay goes through - the illness and death of his granddad, the doubts about what he wants from life and the frequent need to go out, get drunk and pick up women.

The script, which does feature more than a little swearing, is laugh-out-loud funny and Perry Fitzpartick, as McVay, is excellent, commenting on and explaining what’s going on to the audience before retreating to take part in the action.

The music and clever use of animation and photographs help to recreate the long-gone world of 1970s Nottingham.

Diary of a Football Nobody runs at the Nottingham Playhouse until 20th October.