FamilyNorth East & YorkshireReview

Football Freddie – Leeds Playhouse

Reviewer: Jennie Eyres

Directors: Ruth Cooper and Andrea Heaton

Leeds based Fidget Theatre will tell you on their website that they “make playful and witty theatre with a warm welcome to children and families”. What they don’t tell you is that by the end of their newest show, Football Freddie, you will come away feeling part of a team, and one that has just won a cup match, no less.

This feel-good tale of nine-year-old Freddie Farren who absolutely loves everything about football is an absolute winner for children and adults alike. At the heart of the story is a message about being brave, working together and joining in and Freddie gets to learn this from her Great, Great, Great Uncle Fred, who used to play for her beloved Town a long time ago. While it is unclear quite how Freddie manages to travel back in time to meet her Uncle Fred, or whether it is just a part of her incredibly lively imagination, it really doesn’t matter, as meet him she does, in the back yard of her little terraced house.

This is a beautiful two-hander about the beautiful game, and is a most engaging and interactive piece of theatre – Richard Kay (Uncle Fred/Jeff the commentator) and Rhiannon Canoville-Ord (Freddie) come out into the audience and work hard to involve everyone in their antics. Grown-ups could be seen chanting, cheering and playing instruments, small children were heading a foam ball left, right and centre and there was even time for a few keepie-uppies! Not a single audience member left without a smile on their face.

Kay was excellent in both his roles, switching from Uncle Fred to Freddie’s personal commentator Jeff with ease, making the audience giggle whenever he popped up to provide commentary on Freddie’s ball skills. Canoville-Ord portrayed the exuberance and energy of a nine-year-old well, occasionally her most high-pitched reactions and shouts were a little ear-piercing, but this was easily forgiven and her character was hard not to love.

At 50 minutes long, straight through with no interval, this is the perfect length for little ones, the majority of whom seemed captivated throughout. After its run at the Playhouse, the production is on a community tour for two weeks in neighbourhood venues across the Leeds City Region – catch it before the final whistle blows on 17th June.

Runs at Leeds Playhouse until 3rd June.

The Reviews Hub Score

Interactive football fun

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The Yorkshire & North East team is under the editorship of Jacob Bush. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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