The Match

By Mari Lloyd
Write Now Festival Liverpool
Friday 30th March 2012

Reviewed by Sue Callaghan Murray

Not being the greatest follower of the beautiful game I hoped that there was more to this evening’s offering than a debate about Blue versus Red. I certainly will say that the content and delivery did not disappoint. This opening night performance at the Write Now Festival began with Annie (Sheila Jones), delivering a form of relaxation class to the audience. In came her visitors Tina (played by Annie Edwards) and Everton shirted Frank (John Windsor) and the contrast was immediately apparent as high spirits and voice levels shattered the peace. The fourth character Annie’s ailing husband does not actually make an appearance but Mari Lloyd invites you to get to know him pretty well, even to the point where we were invited into a lesson in communicating with Motor Neurone Disease before Frank goes off to watch the match in the sufferer’s room.

With little pause for breath the Match gets under way against a backdrop of reminiscing with Annie’s treasured photo album. The past is by no means left in the past as Annie enters into a sensitive one-to-one with both members of the visiting couple. Half time was perfectly utilised in a play of two halves and Frank’s instantaneous well delivered humour used in contrast to the real life issues that emerged as the plot developed. The sting in the tail is measurably injected and the laces tie up nicely as the final floodlight dims.

Enjoyment of the Match did not require a season ticket or any action replays. It was Studio Fringe theatre at its best with just enough of a set to create the illusion. If there was one thing that I may have possibly altered was the full set illumination throughout the majority of the performance. Some of the delicate exchanges could have benefitted greatly from being individually highlighted. The Match is very much a multi appeal work and I am sure we won’t have seen the last of it this week in Liverpool. It is a winner and Mari Lloyd and team have a chance of being in the honours for many a season to come.

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