Five-a-side woes bring a smile to Abbey Theatre

Despite appearances to the contrary, footie-phobics should go along to the next production by the Company of Ten according to the theatre company.

For Jumpers For Goalposts by Tom Wells, set in a changing room where the lives, loves and dreams of the members of Barely Athletic, a useless five-a-side team, is revealed, has very little football content.

They are struggling to compete in a Gay, Lesbian and Transexual league, with very little success, and it seems highly unlikely they will ever lift the trophy.

The comedy, which opens in the Abbey Theatre Studio tomorrow (10), features five cast members new to the Company of Ten although Melanie (Mel) Wall, who plays lesbian Viv who runs a pub with her long-term partner as well as being team coach, has a history with the company as a one time member of the Youth Music Theatre Group.

She explained, “She [Viv] used to train the “Lesbian Rovers”, but they ditched her because she was too bossy. She is very driven - all she wants is to win that trophy - but she means well. She seems hard, but deep down she has a huge heart.”

Michael Llaniog, who plays Joe, the token straight guy in the team. was a promising football player in his youth and signed for Reading FC as well as having spells with Aldershot, Wokingham Town and Maidenhead United.

His experience has proved invaluable during rehearsals according to director Yvonne Harding who said: “He has been able to teach basic football skills to the other cast members. He also gave us a huge insight into changing room behaviour and banter.”

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Gavin Mathers takes the role of Beardy Geoff, a busker who never takes off his strange Peruvian hat, while the last two characters Danny (Paul Spruce) and Luke (Danny Bury) form a love story.

Performances are at 8pm tomorrow and Saturday (10/11) and from next Tuesday to Saturday, June 14 to 18. There is also a matinee this Sunday (12) at 2.30pm.

To book tickets go to or call the box office on 01727 857861.

* Tonight (9) is the charity night for Jumpers for Goalposts, dedicated by the Soroptimist Women’s Group in aid of the St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge.

For tickets call 01727 832752, email or go to the website.