Review: Playing The Joker, West Yorkshire Playhouse

A play, a pie and a pint – is there anything more appealing?

Begun in Oran Mor in Scotland, the concept is very simple – well, the clue’s in the title. The pies are good, the pints perfectly acceptable – but if the play’s not up to scratch, then it’s missing a vital ingredient.

Fortunately the latest edition of The Three ‘Ps’, Anthony Clavane’s Playing the Joker, is as appealing as the other two Ps – mainly thanks to three brilliantly strong performances at the heart of the piece. The initially confusing script tells the story of Eddie M, a possibly unhinged young man who has turned up on the doorstep of the Queen’s Hotel in Leeds, hoping to meet his hero Eddie Waring.

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A large contingent of the audience at opening night clearly knew the story of Eddie Waring – those who are a little less well-versed in the legendary commentator’s story might find themselves a bit lost initially.

Once Clavane abandons the parts of the story he wants to tell, which needs a rugby knowledge to be fully understood, and concentrates on the story of the characters, the piece really comes alive.

The influence of Trevor Griffiths’ play Comedians is entirely apparent, but that’s not bad thing. The performances of Dicken Ashworth, William Fox and Dominic Gately are all genuinely brilliant.

To Saturday, West Yorkshire Playhouse, 0113 2137700.