Review by Trevor Baxter
YOU don’t need to be a rugby league fan to enjoy ‘Up an Under’, a classic tale of David versus Goliath.
There weren’t too many prop forwards or fleet of foot full-backs in the audience when the Correspondent visited Oldham Coliseum for John Godber’s sporting comedy.
And providing you don’t mind some dressing room language then ‘Up an Under’ is a sit back and enjoy yourself play that offers nothing in subliminal messages.
The storyline follows the fortunes of a deadbeat, no hope team – the Wheatsheaf – unwittingly thrust towards a show down against the all-conquering Cobblers Arms from Castleford.
Not quite Oldham against Wigan in the 1987 Challenge Cup at Watersheddings but you get the picture!
And as ‘Up and Under’ still has a few days to run until October 21, best not giveaway the outcome of their final show down.
As with many of Godber’s plays, including ‘Teechers’ and ‘Bouncers’, cast members are kept to a minimum.
The film version, starring the late lamented Gary Olsen, Neil Morrissey, Griff Rhys Jones and ex-Eastender Samantha Janus, had a cast of tens.
Only six were on stage for this Chris Lawson directed production and there was hardly a knock on or dropped pass between them.
Lauryn Redding was the sole female, playing Hazel Scott, the gym instructor daughter of a one-time rugby league legend.
Her male colleagues provide admirably support play, including Jeffrey Harmer as Arthur Hoyle and Richard Fletcher as Steve Edwards and Hoyle’s nemesis, Reg Welsh.
This adaptation is slick and fast moving, particularly the second half when the Wheatsheaf finally line up against the Cobblers.
‘Up and Under’ is Super League quality entertainment, as fresh and witty as it was when it first lined up for a debut more than 30 years ago.
To book tickets call Oldham Coliseum on 0161 624 2829 or go online: www.coliseum.org.uk