Writer: Rafaela Elliston and Robbie Martin
Director: Christopher Dunham
Reviewer: Tom Ralphs
In a world where the diets and fitness regimes of professional footballers are managed down to the smallest detail and where even a sip of alcohol can lead to media scrutiny of their fitness to play, it’s hard to believe that there was once a time when football was the new rock and roll and its stars were prone to the same excesses as big-name actors and musicians. And yet that time existed. It was the 1970s and George Best was the poster boy for the rock star footballer lifestyle.
Hello Georgie, Goodbye Best is set over a weekend where Best went missing. Instead of playing football, he has turned up at the home of Irish actress Sinead Cusack. In another nod to a bygone era, Cusack is completely unaware of Best’s disappearance in the absence of any social media to turn it into a self-feeding rumour mill.
The play touches on the reasons for Best’s disappearance, and everything he was running away from with his behaviour as a whole at the time. On top of this, we get the media frenzy when his whereabouts are discovered and the press scent a scandal.
Cusack’s story plays a lesser role in the play overall, in much the same way as she would have been the lesser celebrity at the time, but it provides an interesting counterpoint as she gets caught in Best’s shadow and fights against simply becoming a footnote in his story.
There may be a question of why this play is relevant now and whether it can be anything more than a historical piece from a very different time, but as a trigger point for a reflection on the nature of celebrity, the pressure of trying to live up to expectations, and the demands of living in a goldfish bowl where you are under constant scrutiny, there is a lot that resonates with the present day.
Runs from 3 to 25 August 2018 | Image: Contributed