WRITTEN and performed by Paul Hunter, this is an evening of fact and fun that every Aston Villa fan (and those of us who are not) will enjoy.
Birmingham is a three-team city, which over the years has had a sparseness of silverware in their trophy cabinets. Undoubtedly the greatest ever achievement was Villa’s European Cup win back in 1982 – a feat that was achieved against all the odds.
That historic game where Villa conjured up a 1-0 victory against German giants Bayern Munich at the De Kulp stadium in Rotterdam, is the hook around which Hunter has woven a tribute to his deceased, chain-smoking, Villa megafan father. He also makes it a tribute to underdogs everywhere.
Hunter does this via a mash-up, of acting, dancing. puppetry, chanting, ball skills, mirth and a touch of general mayhem. For the most part it works – however there are some over-long pauses where the momentum is lost and occasional pieces of business that do not quite work. As with all premieres, this is work in progress and I am sure Hunter will tighten things up as he develops his show to the next stage.
He is supported by three hardworking performers in Lori Hopkins, Heather Lai and Kyll Thomas-Cole, who multi-role and multi-task. A special shout out to the puppet designer and maker Lyndie Wright.
Performed in REP’s smallest space The Door and with a claret and blue set by designer Sophia Clist, ‘Would You Bet Against Us’ is more snug then smug, for it’s never ever going to travel further than our City limits.
I’m sure Hunter was well aware of that when he conceived it. There is plenty of mileage out there though with just Brummie audiences and a myriad of sequels to come, no doubt.
Would You Bet Against Us? runs at the Rep until Saturday, May 28.
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