Tuesday, October 3

Vardy v Rooney – The Wagatha Christie Trial – The Lowry

We all remember that day in October 2019 when Colleen Rooney posted that now infamous line on social media “It’s……Rebekah Vardy’s account”. After a turbulent court case, the transcript has now found its way on stage. While Lisa Spirling’s adept direction lends a captivating dynamism to the court scenes, as attorneys demonstrate their prowess in a thrilling simulation of a tennis match, it’s hard to ignore the signs of rushed production in “Vardy V Rooney: The Wagatha Christie Trial”. Despite its moments of brilliance, the production bears the unmistakable marks of hasty assembly and never really distinguishing if it’s a comedy or drama.

This theatrical piece offers a fresh take on a tale that has already etched itself into the public consciousness. However, it fails to seize the opportunity to delve deeper into the intricacies of contemporary celebrity culture. It neglects to investigate the profound implications of social media usage, the pitfalls of fame, the meticulously crafted public images, and the beguiling allure of Instagram’s glittering world.

Despite these shortcomings, “Vardy V Rooney: The Wagatha Christie Trial” still manages to hold its audience captive, akin to the guilty pleasure of indulging in reality TV. There is something engaging about its blend of sharp wit, insightful commentary, and the deft weaving in of football metaphors.

Their run at The Lowry in Salford is their penultimate stop on their tour, this play promises to provide a night of entertainment, if not profound enlightenment. It’s akin to a light-hearted diversion, a momentary escape into a world where the stakes are high, and the drama is intoxicating.

Yet, in its pursuit of entertainment, the production falls short in its exploration of the broader social context. It focuses on the sensational, at the expense of the substantial. It is in this delicate balance between amusement and analysis where “Vardy V Rooney: The Wagatha Christie Trial” fails to deliver.

In conclusion, while the play has its moments of gripping dialogue and dynamic staging, it seems to be more style than substance. This is not to say that it doesn’t offer a fun night out at the theatre, but it could have done more to comment on the societal issues it brings to the fore. The missed opportunity to critique the wider cultural landscape is a noticeable flaw in an otherwise engaging production.

An entertaining spectacle, certainly, but it leaves one wanting for a more nuanced exploration of our contemporary celebrity-obsessed culture. Despite its shortcomings, however, it remains a diverting, if somewhat superficial, portrayal of a well-known tale.

The production continues at The Lowry until Sunday 11th June 2023. For more information, please visit https://thelowry.com/whats-on/vardy-v-rooney-the-wagatha-christie-trial/

Reviewer: Brian Madden

Reviewed: 9th June 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 2 out of 5.