Jon Bradfield and Martin Hooper, the duo responsible for some of the best adult pantos of the past couple of years – ‘Beauty on the Piste’ and ‘Tinderella’ – hit the back of the net as they make their return to Above the Stag Theatre. The official football season might not start until August but balls are flying all over the place in ‘He Shoots! He Scores!’, a musical comedy set in the world of five-aside football.
A gay team thinks they’re entering a gay football tournament… only it’s a regular one open to teams from all over Europe. Fun and unashamedly camp, it’s the classic tale of an underestimated, team of underdogs and (SPOILER ALERT) their eventual success – but with more dick jokes and some really super songs. Liam’s ballad – an ode to straight boys which contains the beautifully belted out line ‘he’s grateful when you rim him’ – is a work of a genius, and I have no idea how performer Tom Mann managed to get through it without bursting out laughing.
Proper belly-laughs abound, especially from Duncan Burt’s Tayzr who steals just about every scene he’s in with his silliness and sass. But despite how downright daft the show is at times, it makes the important point that sport is seriously backwards when it comes to LGBT+ rights, with all manner of horrible homophobic insults rained down on players from the terraces. I reckon it would do a lot of football fans the world of good to see ‘He Shoots! He Scores’, and not just because it’s a laugh.