Sport and theatre can often make for awkward combinations – for every successful comedy like Up And Under there’s a misfire like The Beautiful Game, one of the few blots on Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s long copybook of box office hits.
But Up And Under, a rollicking story of rugby league folk, was created at Hull Truck Theatre, and they’re also closely connected to a new play which premieres at Watford’s Palace Theatre on Friday night.
Tom Wells, whose debut The Kitchen Sink wowed the critics and won awards, is the writer of Jumpers for Goalposts, a Paines Plough, Hull Truck and Watford Palace Theatre co-production.
If officially opens at Watford on Tuesday next week, for a run that continues until April 20, but there are cut-price preview shows from Friday.
It’s billed as an hilarious and heart-warming story about football, friendship and finding your way.
James Grieve and George Perrin, joint artistic directors of Paines Plough, have been working with Tom since he joined an emerging playwrights programme in 2009. George said: “He is one of the funniest and sharpest writers in the land, and we could not be more honoured and thrilled to be premièring his new play. Jumpers For Goalposts has us rolling around laughing one minute and winded the next.
“Tom’s acute, moving portrayal of five people trying to beat the odds to win in football and in life will resonate with everyone. It’s a major new play from a major writer and we can’t wait for people to see it across the country.”
The play is suitable for ages 14 and up, and there are already plans for a national tour later this year.
Tickets for preview nights are £10, with prices rising to £12.50 from Tuesday. Call the box office on 01923 225 671 for full details of dates and availability.