Zigger Zagger at Wilton’s Music HallCultureTheatre
The world is not all a football pitch, but the 50 young people assembled for the revival of Zigger Zagger perfectly recreate on the Wilton’s Music Hall stage 1967 life for and around the matches. The first original work commissioned by the National Youth Theatre, this energetic play opens up the 1960s world of British hooliganism to a 21st-century audience, 50 years since its premiere at the Jeannetta Cochrane Theatre and a BBC screening.
We follow the story of Harry Philton (Josh Barrow), a 15-year-old Londoner who has just left school and is now at a crossroads: should he be part of the screaming mob supporting his football team or head towards a working and more stable adulthood. His path is affected on one side by his friendship with the leader of the City hooligans, Zigger Zagger (Teddy Robson), on the other by the careless conduct of his mother, Mrs Philton (Ciara Wright).
Violence and disrespect soon become part of Harry’s behaviour, on the streets, behind the barriers, in front of the court. Authorities and the education system have little power over the youth attracted by the game and the rowdy football worshippers.
Juliet Knight masterfully directs the 50 voices rising in unison, feet beating together like an army, hands clapping as one. Rock and swing tunes alternate with live music from a violin and a piano. The tall and old vault of the Hall is the perfect setting for the powerful choruses; the amplified echo recreates the loud climate of a stadium, already suggested by the green grass at the front of the stage. Singing and pirouettes are shown off in the midst of long sequences of serious talking, while the comedy is never left out, with brilliant sketches and perfect dumb expressions.
The enthusiasm from the cast is exceptional. Wrapped in old clothes, with a predominance of jeans and red-and-white scarves, the actors jump and growl, perfectly unleashing the aggressive force of the hooligans. Even if there are a few stammerings, they are covered well and often pass unnoticed during the stand-out sequences. The energy coming from the young talents reviving this well-studied script is absolutely infectious.
Photo: Nobby Clark
Zigger Zagger is at Wilton’s Music Hall from 6th until 9th September 2017. For further information or to book visit here.