Madcap football comedy comes to Town Hall

TWO FOOTBALL fans have just seen their side relegated after a referee disallowed a perfectly good goal, allowing the opposition to go down the other end and score.

The referee’s decision is final…or is it? The two cheated fans have to take matters into their own hands by kidnapping the ref and forcing him to change his mind on the all important goal... with hilarious and unexpected consequences.

This is the premise of Robert Farquharson’s madcap comedy God’s Official which comes to the Town Hall Theatre on Monday April 26 and Tuesday 27, in a production from Dublin’s City Theatre.

For Irish audiences the subject matter will naturally revive painful memories of Thierry Henry’s infamous handball that eliminated Ireland from the World Cup last year, but the play itself actually dates from 2000 and it was a huge hit in that year’s Edinburgh Festival.

“It’s a play that did very well in Edinburgh with a younger audience and I felt that was an area that we should be looking at, because I feel we should be developing an audience not just playing to the same people all the time,” says director Michael Scott, explaining what drew him to the material.

“People have noticed there’s a market for plays with football in them and the success plays like One Night in November or I, Keano have helped create that interest.

“If you look at a play like Paul Mercier’s Studs, that was about football but also about a lot of other things and that’s true of this play also. It’s about identity and how for lots of people football becomes almost like a religion, it defines who they are. Footballers are like heroes or gladiators in today’s culture and it’s intriguing to have a play that explores that.”

The play features a cast of three; Mick Lally as the hapless referee and George McMahon (Mondo from Fair City ) and rising star Edward Mullane as the aggrieved fans.

“Mick Lally played the referee in Studs and I thought it would be interesting to revisit that,” says Scott. “George McMahon would bring in a younger audience so it’s good to have that broad appeal. The play just opened this week and we’ve been getting a great response. People were cheering at the end. It’s three people onstage for 90 minutes and they don’t let up for a minute.

“It’s completely irreverent, they kidnap this ref and make him watch a video of the match a couple of hundred times to get him to admit he was wrong. I think it strikes a load of chords. These days people are stressed and worried because of the recession and I thought it would be good to put on something that offers a great night out and a good laugh and God’s Official does that.”

Tickets are €18/16 and are available from the Town Hall on 091 - 569777.

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