A hilarious and heart-warming comedy about football, friendship and finding your way.
Luke wants Danny, but Danny's got a secret. Joe's happy in goal, but Geoff wants a headline gig. Viv just wants to beat the lesbians to the league title. Game on.
Tom Wells' Jumpers for Goalposts premiered at Watford Palace Theatre in 2013, before touring the UK, including a run at the Bush Theatre, London.
This volume also includes the short play Jonesy.
'generous, warm-hearted and packed with telling, often very funny detail'
'blissfully funny but at times deeply affecting too... the dialogue is blessed with sharp one-liners... what makes [Tom Wells] so special is his gift of making the small change of everyday lives shine so brightly'
'Wells has that rare gift of being able to capture the goodness that resides amongst people with an unforced warmth and a highly observant ear and eye for comedy... unreservedly recommended'
'the delicate balance between humour and pathos is seldom achieved with such deftness... a stunning piece of writing - fresh, funny, painful, engaging'
'finds extraordinary beauty in the ordinary lives of its characters'
Tom Wells is a playwright whose work has been staged by the West Yorkshire Playhouse, the Arcola, Paines Plough, and the Bush Theatre, amongst others. He is Associate Playwright at Hull Truck.
Putney Theatre Company on
16th September 2015 3:51PM
Few recent comedies have received such acclaim - and love from an audience - as Jumpers for Goalposts. The national critics heaped praise upon the original 2013 Paines Plough production, calling it: “an extraordinarily touching and uplifting evening of theatre” – The Stage, “Gorgeous... a paean to the sustaining power of love. -The Times, “Blissfully funny and deeply affecting” –Telegraph. While the Daily Express summed it up neatly with its simple “It cracked open my heart.” Audiences responded in turn, with many making repeat visits throughout its tour and London sojourn at the Bush Theatre.
The reason for the play’s success lies mainly with the author Tom Wells’ trademark way with words and characters. Tom has an amazing ability to forge gold out of the simplest line, lines that ring out with truth, wit and genuine emotion, and he possesses a natural talent for creating characters that are fully rounded, layered and instantly recognizable without being clichéd.
His writing is immensely truthful and clever, picking up the nuances and rhythms of everyday speech and lives, without ever drawing attention to how clever it is. His characters are not highly educated or sophisticated (in the worst, arch sense of the word) but they come full to the brim with humanity, charm and a big beating heart. They leap off the page and into our lives in a way that very few writers manage. These are people - more than that, friends - that you want to spend time with and, once the play is over, you don’t want that time to end.
In all three of his plays to date, Me, As A Penguin (2010), The Kitchen Sink (2011) and Jumpers for Goalposts, Wells’ writes about the small world and lives that he knows and understands from his East Yorkshire upbringing. But from this he creates a wider world of friendships and relationships that we all recognize and yearn for. These are not big self-important plays but they say more about who we are and what we hope for in life than many other playwrights can muster in works often twice the length, size and ambition.
The characters in Jumpers are an actor’s delight. This has been one of the easiest plays I have ever had to direct. Give a good actor a good play and they will make it soar. And Jumpers for Goalposts, in my humble opinion, is beyond good. It is a wonderful, life-affirming testament to friendship and love that overflows with kindness, some sadness and a rich vein of humour and truth.
Jumpers takes the familiar romcom idea of a group of friends and a blossoming relationship that falters, and subtly, wonderfully turns it on its head. This is not a ‘gay play’. This is a play where most of the characters just happen to be gay and, in a typically lovely touch, includes a ‘token straight’. Some might argue that this is unrealistic but in the world of the Hull LGBT five-a side that Tom Wells drops us into everything here rings true. We know these people. We recognize them and we understand their hopes and dreams. We share in their success and failure. We laugh with them and feel for their wounded hearts.
The members of Barely Athletic, Viv, Joe, Beardy, Danny and Luke, may be works of fiction but they feel every bit as alive and full of life as you and me, living, breathing, loving, laughing. You may only spend 90 minutes in their company but they will stay with you long after the lights have gone down. And, as with previous audiences, I’m willing to bet that you won’t be able to let them go and that you can’t wait to meet them again.