New Pompey-themed musical kicks off tonight at Portsmouth Guildhall's Studio

The cast of Team! in rehearsal. From left: Sam O'Hanlon, Paul Bradshaw,  Archie McKeown and Lauren Smith
The cast of Team! in rehearsal. From left: Sam O'Hanlon, Paul Bradshaw, Archie McKeown and Lauren Smith
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A new musical about football, friendship and the passing of time is set to kick-off at Portsmouth’s Guildhall Studio ahead of the new football season.

Created in Portsmouth, Team! explores the unifying highs and lows of life and being a loyal football supporter.

It tells the story of five people who meet, argue, share their hopes and dreams and ultimately form friendships through a shared passion and love for their team.

Show producer, Jacob Thomas says: ‘The show, written by prolific local playwrighting duo John Gleadall (music) and Greg Mosse (words) and supported by local musical arranger, Tony Pegler, offers an entertaining insight into the joy and frustration felt by fans up and down the country and the friendships that are formed off the pitch.’

‘Pompey fans are highly regarded as some of the most passionate in England, so it was fitting to produce this show here featuring some of the Fratton End favourite songs before adapting it for other clubs and taking it on tour across the country.’

The show is the sixth show the prolific pairing of John and Gregg have created in three years.

John Gleadall explains the show’s origins: ‘Greg Mosse and I were chatting and the germ of the idea came from the fact that we’re both huge football types – but we also love the fans and their spirit in adversity –  particularly Pompey fans. Pompey fans are famously fantastic for being relentlessly cheerful in the face of adversity, which is just as well! 

‘But it’s not about just football, it’s about football fans and their relationships within society.

‘This show is very Pompey-centric, there’s lots of Pompey FC references, but the basic idea is that we’ve got a group of students who start at university and realise they’ve got a shared love of football, so they decide to make a mixed five-a-side team, and it goes from there.’

Professional actress Lauren Smith is one of the stars of the show. She grew up in Leigh Park and knows only too well what it is like to support Pompey.

‘My dad and my brother are die-hard football fans, so I’ve grown up with it, so I get all of the football references in the show and I’m really enjoying it.

‘I’ve done lots of jobs all over the country, so it’s nice to come back and do a local show with a local audience.’

She is joined in the cast by Archie McKeown, from Havant, who was part of Dynamo Youth Theatre and now works with the Bench Theatre company.

Ben admits he’s not been the biggest of football fans. ‘I’m enjoying learning about football,’ he laughs. ‘I’m a bit behind, but my dad is a Scouser, so we’ve got lots of Liverpool stuff going on at home, so I’m vaguely aware through that. But I’m gaining knowledge as we rehearse!’

Team! is supported by Pompey in the Community, The Guildhall Trust and Arts Council England and produced by local companies Jacob Thomas Productions in association with Doye Mosse Productions.

Associate producer for The Guildhall Trust, Benjamin Clabon adds: ‘It is a real pleasure to see the studio, which only opened at the end of last year, being used to its full potential as a rehearsal and performance space, encouraging new works and emerging talent in the city as was intended.’

TEAM!

Portsmouth Guildhall Studio

August 2-3

portsmouthguildhall.org.uk