Saturday, May 25

90 Days – Traverse Theatre

There are few things that raise an actor’s energy and commitment (and fear!) more than playing a character who is sitting barely a few feet away from them.  Tonight, in Traverse 1, all five actors on stage faced this particular challenge and all rose as a powerful team, bonded by music, to face their namesakes in the audience and to tell the unlikely story of what happened in dressing room and rugby pitch exactly thirty years ago.

In an emotion-packed evening there are tears, laughter, singing and a real buzz of camaraderie. On stage Dani Heron, Caitlin Forbes, Yang Harris and Ava MacKinnon play some of the key players of the 1994 Scotland rugby team, Sue (Subo) Brodie, Sandra (gnomie) Colamartino, Kim (headgirl) Littlejohn and Annie (Fannie) Freitas, with John Kielty as their (dolphin training) coach Mark Francis, who with barely 90 days somehow manage to reschedule and host the Rugby World Cup.

This is certainly no limp retelling, the words of writer Kim Millar and the music and lyrics of songwriter Andy McGregor mesh together beautifully to create a feel-good, very funny, well-paced musical which at times excels. The language and the sentiment in the camp feels authentic and leads to some very funny one liners, mostly delivered with great timing by Ava MacKinnon as the immovable force, Anny. Dani Heron also stands out with a fantastic high singing voice easily carrying over the harmonies of the rest of the team. The overtly male hierarchy of the IRFB is the target of Rules For A reason, the standout number, with all four ladies hamming it up in fine style and getting revenge on their rugby masters over inflated egos and general distain for the women’s game in the 1990s.

90 Days is the third, and best, of the women’s sporting plays I’ve reviewed at the Traverse just in the past few months, including the Wrestling drama, Thrown (****), and the powerful Football comedy, Same Team (*****). It seems like ladies sporting drama is fast becoming the thing!?

Or maybe it’s just time for Scottish women’s rugby. This world premiere is perfectly choreographed to land on the eve of the Scottish women’s six nation match, against the old enemy, World-leading England. It seems like the public are finally waking up to this female sporting spectacle, with this sold-out event drawing a record-breaking crowd of 7,774 to the Hive Stadium Edinburgh. C’mon Scotland!

The only downside here is that this joy-inducing blast of fun is only on for two more performances. No time at all for bedding in by this talented and committed cast. This hearty production of a great, feel-good story surely, at the very least, deserves a tour of Scotland, to inspire the next generation of gnomes, fannies and headgirls on to the rugby pitch.

Don’t miss it!

Reviewer: Greg Holstead

Reviewed: 12th April 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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