Updated: May 29
John Dillon's WEARING COLOURS - An Educational Play About How Everyone Should Return Home Safe After A Football Game
WEARING COLOURS is an education. The play was a triumph. A stellar script about tragic events and the views from a number of people's varying perspectives was portrayed by a Director with a deep understanding of the script and cast of talented actors through a passionate, evocative and believable delivery that pays respect to the victims, the families of those effected, and John Dillon's original script.
'WEARING COLOURS perfectly demonstrated how things can get so out of hand so easily. In a script where not a word was wasted, the portrayal and delivery was fine tuned and impactful.'
WEARING COLOURS is set in the May of 1985, when Liverpool Football Club and Juventus Football Club played at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels, Belgium. Due to the devastating and violent events that unfolded in the stands, the match became insignificant and tore people's lives apart.
The play is set in an atmospheric hotel room on the Belgian seaside city of Ostend, with the four fans travelling to Heysel in Brussels. Scenes depict the increasing comical, bubbling excitement, and passion for 'the beautiful game' that would see LFC take Juventus head on in the final for the 1985 European Cup.
The jubilant scenes building up to the game are then followed by the distressed emotions that the four characters felt as they surge with grief and struggle to comprehend what unfathomable violence occurred between the club fans at the stadium in which 39 football fans lost their lives.
I felt like I was watching a theatrical performance of the calibre that is in the same vein as Blood Brothers. Powerful, heartbreaking and a whirlwind of emotions.
The production blended the cast's moving acting, with video projections of the scenes from that ominous day in Heysel. This combination brought the play's real-life basis home, and made it hit even harder through the fact that this production is not just simply producing a fictional evocative story, this happened. And it is upsetting. Though, just because it is upsetting, it does not mean that you should not see this moving piece of theatre. If anything, the fact that the team is able to capture and convey such events makes this play the triumph that deserves recognition.
WEARING COLOURS perfectly demonstrated how things can get so out of hand so easily. In a script where not a word was wasted, the portrayal and delivery was fine tuned and impactful.
WEARING COLOURS is an education.
The message that the production conveys is so important on numerous levels and it is a theatrical piece that I hope Sidehammer can take further and bring to the forefront of not just the Liverpool theatre scene, but gain a broader national stage so that people from all over the country can take lessons of how everyone should return home safe after a football game.
WEARING COLOURS 2023 return was revitalised by the independent Sidehammer Productions, bringing the near 40 year old script to new audiences to learn from through the brutal and unsettling events of what was supposed to be a fun and enjoyable event.
The play took place at Hope Street Theatre in Liverpool City Centre, more than 15 years since it last had a theatrical run, with all three nights of the play's run selling out. It was Directed by Sean Ponzini, and starred Dave J Williamson as Ralph, Daniel Owen as Toddy, Christopher Lawless as Mitch and Thom Williamson as Eddie.
WEARING COLOURS earns itself a masterful 5 Liver Birds out of 5.