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Review: The Red Lion, at Trafalgar Studios

10 November, 2017 — By Paul Cowling

Dean Bone and Stephen Tompkinson in The Red Lion. Photo: Mark Douet

PATRICK Marber has used experience of a community-run football club as the idea behind The Red Lion, which transfers from Newcastle’s Live Theatre.

The “Geordieology” continues with director Max Roberts’ take on three characters of differing ages, but with the same struggles and needs.

Steam iron smells waft through the grotty dressing room of a tired old club plying their trade on the mud tracks of the Northern League. Craggy-faced kit man Yates (John Bowler) is laying out the red and yellow of Red Lion FC. Then the gaffer ambles in. The “Howay Man” early doors banter between Yates and Kidd (Stephen Tompkinson) means it’s very Likely Lads. At first.

Yates has recommended young player Jordan (Dean Bone), but Kidd puts the kid on the bench.

Post match, and with rain-wet shirts on a grubby floor, Kidd realises Jordan is “a bit special” but Jordan’s secret is a knee-full of steroids. It’s not just the foundations of the dressing room that could be shaken, but the club itself.

Tompkinson is commanding as the club’s boss, who wants more for Jordan than a “cold Tesco sausage roll”. Kidd also wants more for the club. But, who out of the three of them ends up on the winning side?

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