The Pieman Cometh: A Cautionary Football Tale
- Eddie Harrison
- 23 August 2018
A Scottish football club attempts to stave off liquidation in this satirical play
Football finances, and specifically insolvency practices, have been a topical subject for over a decade; point-scoring football supporters who once debated penalty awards now find themselves in heated arguments as to TUPE regulations, tax adjudications and contractual law. Writers Bryan Jackson and David Belcher wade into these treacherous waters with satire on their minds; directed by Frank Miller, The Pieman Cometh is the story of fictional football club Dunweary FC, and efforts to save it from liquidation.
As the tabloid back-pages scream and the phone-lines jam on football discussion radio-shows, Alan Ledger (Ross Allan) launches himself into the financial murk surrounding Dunweary FC. Club servants must be made redundant, on and off the pitch, and deals must be done; after meeting the truculent owner (Callum Cuthbertson) Ledger interviews a number of oddball characters, the best of which is a gruff manager (Julie Coombe) whose lively gesticulations add a surreal edge to her conversation.
Jackson hails from the world of football finance, while Belcher's acerbic journalism has won him many friends, combined, they've constructed a comic satire that manages to point out just how strange the world of football is. Fans are sensitive about the topic, but The Pieman Cometh makes no mention of Celtic or Rangers, and most of the characters are fictional. A few targets (pundit Hugh Keevins, player Leigh Griffith) might be regarded as obvious, but this is a play that's happy to throw in some cheeky one-liners and gags to keep the audience happy.
The bigger picture is that in the internet age, football fans are more informed about what's happening with their club, but that isn't to say that they are informed correctly or accurately. The Pieman Cometh alludes to real events, but leaves the audience to figure out exactly which ones. Fascinating for football fans, it's also a funny and well-played show of strong appeal to Scottish audiences.
Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre, until 26 Aug, 2.30pm, £11–£12 (£9-£10).