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 Connecting professional and amateur theatre in Newbury, West Berkshire and beyond

Corn Exchange - Ronaldo Ate My Credit Card

11th April 2003.

This was the NWN review.

More than just a game

Ronaldo Ate My Credit Card, at The Corn Exchange, on Friday, April 11

The relationship between men and football is a well-trodden path for dramatists. The 1990 World Cup gave us An Evening With Gary Lineker, Euro 96 gave us My Summer With Des, while Nick Hornby adapted his book Fever Pitch into a filmed account of one man's experiences of Arsenal's 1989 championship (boo hiss).

Consequently, I approached Ronaldo Ate My Credit Card with a sense of caution, expecting more of the same. Happily, I was proved wrong.

Co-written by actor Mark Brailsford and director Paul Hodson, this is essentially a one-man show, in which Brighton fan Simon (Brailsford), resplendent in replica shirt, describes his impulsive decision to jet off to Japan to watch England vs Brazil in last year's World Cup. (I say 'essentially' because Simon's girlfriend Clare does make a profane appearance at the end, when he comes home to face the music.)

Simon's decision to go is set against the backdrop of being in a relationship with Clare, following a failed marriage, and being in the process of buying a house. The trip to Japan and Simon's decision to stay out there for a few more games, prompts him to re-assess his life, and the direction it is taking. Which is just as well, as an hour on stage describing a trip to a football match would have been fairly tedious. I know, as I bore my colleagues on the subject every other Monday morning.

Just as England fans in Japan became known, just for once, for their good humour, so Simon's account of his journey (in the wider sense of the word) is one of humour and insight. This was the sort of one-man show which would go down a storm at the Edinburgh Fringe or in a smaller arts venue.

The banks of empty seats at The Corn Exchange may have made Reading fans feel at home, but rather detracted from the atmosphere of a super little show.