Following the success of New Wolsey Theatre’s original production Our Blue Heaven in 2018, which followed Ipswich Town Football Club’s FA cup victory in 1978, writer and director Peter Rowe has put pen to paper once more and is back with Never Lost At Home. Another new show, celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Ipswich Town FC’s UEFA Cup win in 1981.
I will always be the first to admit that sport isn’t really ‘my thing’, but that said its really interesting to see these real-life inspired stories unfold in a theatre setting and there is wide-appeal in the way it is told. It really captures the 80’s spirit and culture, whilst showcasing the passion from those following the game and supporting the team to victory.
Those who caught Our Blue Heaven back in 2018 will love the sequel feeling, as we are reunited with the three families a few years later on in their lives; but if you missed that production you will still be able to attach to these characters and their love of the game. At times, it feels a little slow in the match scenes, but that may be down to my lack of connection to the game or era, and regardless that doesn’t take away from it still being a great story.
Whilst described as a new musical, I would say its more a play with music – but what great music it is! Set to a score of 80’s hits, played live by the actor-musicians, it’s bound to get your toe-tapping and head-bobbing. The set is simple but effective, the use of pre-recorded footage adds a great layer and it’s really lovely to see a live recording taking place both for the livestream at home but its also bounced into the theatre for those towards the back of the auditorium, which I think adds to the accessibility.
The cast are on fine form, with a mix of familiar faces from the Our Blue Heaven production and a few new ones. Peter Paverley once again embodies the beloved and legendary manager Bobby Robson with brilliant accuracy. Steve Simmons never disappoints as a firm New Wolsey favourite, though the entire cast deserve a hearty round of applause.
For football fans, it’s a trip down memory lane when the club was at its peak. For theatre fans, it’s a fun story that can be enjoyed whether you care for the sport or not. It’s full of humour, heart and adventure, and it’s the perfect ‘hometown pride’ kind of show to welcome you back to the New Wolsey Theatre.
Never Lost At Home runs at the New Wolsey Theatre until Saturday 9th October. Live stream options also available. For more information or to book visit wolseytheatre.co.uk.