Munich A Review Of A Play Starring Brendan Dunlea

Hey everyone After a few days break caused more by financial constraints than choice Thursday saw me make a welcome return to the fringe. In a busy day I managed to take in three shows and not only that they represented three different genres theatre, poetry and comedy and in has to be said that all three were excellent

James Christopher’s Partially Sighted In All The Big Venues was laid back humour at best making an hour of my life pass far more enjoyably than may otherwise have been the case as with the aid of multi media guided us though the terror of being what he refers to as a minor celebrity, comparing spoken word nights, and having his hair platted by his seven year old identical twin nieces

As for Robin Cairns show The Weegies Have Pockled Edinburgh’s Pandas let’s just say I don’t want to give too much away as to my thoughts on that one as I hope once I have collected my thoughts to review it on this blog in a few days time

So it is the first of the shows I was lucky enough to see which will form the main part of this post. This was a play called Munich, which was fittingly enough for a football related play a 3 o’clock kick off. As the drama starts we find that the narrator of the play is a Manchester United fan who is just in the process of recovering from a heart attack. During the play the main character Philip chronicles his life and that of his family through football themed events and particularly those at the famous old club. The central character Philip is was and ever shall be a United fan through and through and during the play he narrates his relationships with his family and friends through united themed games players and incidents

As the play starts Philip is not long out of hospital and is recovering from a heart attack. He is talking to his friend Leo with whom he plays golf and enjoys a drink On the golf course they talk football debating whether Maradonna was better than Pele. Leo of course gets his facts wrong by stating that Pele had something wrong with his legs. Philip tells his friend he is in fact of Garrincha as it was not Pele whose legs were slightly which is why he was called the little bird.

Getting back to domestic football Leo reminds Philip that when they were young United were just another team who didn’t have the magic or mystique they do now. Not that this mattered to Philip who wears his heart very much on his sleeve and has taught his son to support them in the same way His son is now living in South Africa and we are given the distinct impression that Philip is none too keen on his Daughter in law Helena whom he constantly refers to as Helen till almost the end of the play

He refers to his son through recalled conversations using United framed references asking him what was the first game he went to and who was his hero? He reveals that the boy’s first game was against Oldham on and his hero was Roy Keane.

Taking a trip back in time he says there is nothing new in football and he reveals that his own hero was Duncan Edwards who was to the Busy Babes what Keane was to his day and a more modern era. Philip talked about Edwards death in the Munich air disaster along with 7 of his team mates about them not having the chance to grow old of being forever 21 and compared this to his own life of domesticity with his wife and family. It may well have been predictable Sunday roast Sunday papers Sunday drive routine but deep down for all his complaining to his and friends Philip knew he had been lucky to have it. After all his boyhood hero Duncan Edwards never got the chance to grow old Duncan Edwards would die a victim of the Munich air crash and would remain forever 21. Philip informs however that such was his spirit he would hang on to life for 15 days before losing the fight in a match he was destined not to win.

As the show reaches it’s end we find Philip back at home looking anxiously at a letter which he decides to open. It’s from his son inviting him to start a new life with him and his family in South Africa in which his son says ‘it’s been five years since she died da referring to his mother and Philip’s wife he told his father that he had done his mourning and it was move on for his own sake and for the memory of his wife. The play ends with Philip reading the words I love you da and the stage fades to black.

I have to say I don’t usually watch plays. This however was an emotional entertaining and very powerful piece of theatre brilliantly acted by Brendan Dunlea which related to so much more than football and I for one hope it plays to much bigger crowds on the national tour on which it surely deserves to be taken. I say this with honesty and with every emotion that welled up inside me I as watched the drama unfold. Wherever there are Man United fans, and wherever there are football fans there is an audience for a football play which just like Duncan Edwards and Roy Keane didn’t miss a tackle. It was indeed a privilege to have watched it.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

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