Note: This review is from the 2019 Fringe

This summer has seen a huge rise in the popularity of women’s football. The Women’s World Cup in France this year was broadcast on all the major channels and people who may never have watched women’s football before, or football at all for that matter, were tuning in. The Next Door Dance company therefore have a very time appropriate piece to deliver which will no doubt appeal to many.

There is a full crowd in ready to support this four piece as they get to the heart of why so many take to the stands or the pitch week after week. With recorded extracts from those who have experienced the game there is a sweet sentimentality to The Beautiful Game that will bring back memories of why we support the clubs we do and those moments football fans will never forget, for good or bad. It is also striking that this is performed by four women who are working to break down the age-old stereotype that football is solely for men and that the medium they have chosen to do it in is dance, or more precisely, physical theatre.

Ultimately, despite the sentimentality and truth, this show is comedic. The overly dramatic rolling about in the floor that footballers often have a tendency to do is ridiculed, the difficulties faced by referees interpreted and the trials and tribulations of the armchair football fan brought to bear.

The girls use clever lighting and a simple audience participation game to bring football scenes to life. Unless you really have never had a single association with ‘the beautiful game’ you will be hard-pushed not to relate to something.

Whether this can be defined as ‘dance’ is questionable; it is the theatricality of the production that makes it a success, but that aside it is fun and witty Fringe fare.