Hello Georgie, Goodbye Best (4 stars)

Hello Georgie, Goodbye Best

Football superstar's lost weekend with rising star Sinead Cusack imagined

It's 1971 and the press, police and adoring fans have surrounded a North London flat. Controversial football wizard George Best is inside with actress Sinead Cusack, having failed to turn up for Manchester United's match against Chelsea.

Rafaela Elliston and Robbie Martin's Hello Georgie, Goodbye Best imagines how that lost weekend played out behind closed doors. The play succeeds on multiple levels; keeping the timeframe and location tight allows Best's existential crises to be extensively explored. His self-destructive alcoholism, the burden of his talent and the sense that a decline is around the corner, are evident, as are the challenges of counting Best as a friend. It's a sympathetic portrayal that unravels as Best uses Cusack's apartment as a confessional booth– but his arrogance is clear. Cusack is not quite an equal partner in the story, but her depiction as a rising star who wants agency and autonomy – not to be told what to do by Best or any other man – provides an effective contrast.

The use of archive footage is tasteful, and by being used minimally, it enhances the the story without ever dominating proceedings. Elliston and Martin take advantage of the their sharp script through their chemistry.

Greenside @ Infirmary Street, until 25 Aug (not 12, 19), 3pm, £10 (£8).

Hello Georgie, Goodbye Best

  • 4 stars

Cheese at Fourpence In 1971, footballing legend George Best spent a turbulent weekend in the Islington flat of Irish actress and intimate friend, Sinead Cusack. The play explores their almost-forgotten relationship, which was put under great strain after George’s whereabouts were discovered and hordes of press and…

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