Review: Fever Pitch, Palace Theatre Mansfield, by Alan Geary
Fever Pitch is of course a stage adaptation of the phenomenally successful book of the same name by Nick Hornby. It's a one-man play adapted and directed – and presumably acted as well; it doesn't say – by Paul Hodson.
For the dedicated devotee of football this might be a must-see; certainly it's done well over the years. But without wishing to put the football boot in, it has to be said that for the non-fan it might seem a long ninety minutes.
Like the novel, it's highly autobiographical. Nick gives us a vivid account of what it's like to be lumbered with a self-destructive obsession with anything; in his case it's Arsenal Football Club. It started in 1968 when his dad, who had already left Nick and his mother, took him to Highbury for his first match. From then on he was hooked.
At the same time as we follow the Arsenal through its ups and downs we also follow Nick's life: growing up in Maidenhead, university, failed relationship, another relationship, teaching and finally writing. The only other interest he seems to have is rock music.
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It's not the sort of piece to make unreasonable demands on a competent actor, but Hodson – if that's who it is – is more than competent so it's done very well.
The set is a simple one in, naturally enough, red and white. Background sound is evocative – crowd noises and, during half-time, supporters' songs from the various clubs. Costumes are a red shirt before half-time and a yellow (away) one, after.