As is true of so many sports stories, this is a play about football that’s not really about football. Set in a World War I factory, a group of disparate women are brought together through a shared love of football and a shared fear of losing their men to the war. The emotional core of this play with songs is the comradery between the women. They support each other through thick and thin, bicker like sisters and make up like them too. There’s even a lesbian love story which is accepted by the rest of the team and allowed to stand on its own as just a sweet love story rather than a big issue, which is refreshing to see.
The scale of Tynecastle Park gives this humble production an epic feel and the sound is expansive. A single guitar and fiddle fill the space like a full band but the specially built stage gives the play an intimate feel as the actors are within touching distance of the front row. Yours Till You Die will be stuck in your head for days and the many times reprised opening number Sweet FA will rouse your soul and bring a proud tear to your eye, knowing how far the beautiful game has come. Over 100 years ago women like these lit the torch that groups such as those represented in Sweet FA by the SFA (Shady Football Authority) cannot put out.
As the evening wears on and the sun goes down it does get a little chilly but it’s nothing a Scottish football fan couldn’t handle. Besides, you’d have to have a heart of stone to not be warmed through by these women’s exuberance and heart.