PPP: Rose

Sep 29 2021 | By More

★★★☆☆      Important

Traverse Theatre: Tues 28 Sept– Sat 2 Oct 2021
Review by Hugh Simpson

Rose, the latest in the new series of A Play, A Pie and A Pint, produced by Oran Mor in association with Aberdeen Performing Arts and the Traverse, is an involving biographical sporting tale.

Lorna Martin’s one-hander tells the story of Ayrshire-born Rose Reilly, who played professional football in France and Italy, scored for Italy in a World Cup final and was voted the best player in the world. Thankfully this is much better known now than it was at the time, but it certainly deserves another telling.

Christina Strachan. Pic: Leslie Black

Scotland’s shameful record in preventing women from playing football is finally being addressed in the theatre – notably in the recent Sweet F.A. – but there is plenty of room for more plays on the subject. Not least because there is still a long way to go until women’s football is treated equally, with the ‘trailblazers and pioneers’ such as Reilly and the late Edna Neillis being first patronised, then vilified and banned, and only recognised years later.

Martin’s script is a lucid and well constructed account of Reilly’s life and career. Anyone familiar with her story will find little that is new, while a determination to pack as much factual content as possible into a small space means that it verges on the superficial at times.

However, the end result is always informative and entertaining, and pretty much nails what can be done in a slot like this.


Christina Strachan’s performance is vigorous and contains considerable humour, while there is real emotional content in a portrayal of someone forced to bottle up her emotions (‘don’t think – just do’) and become a rebel when all she wanted to do was play football.

Maureen Carr’s direction gives variety to the monologue, while Jonathan Scott and Gemma Patchett’s design makes elegant use of the space.

There may be a shortage of stardust to elevate this above the ordinary, but anyone venturing to the (still admirably distanced) Traverse will be satisfied. This is undoubtedly an important story that needs to be told, and is done so here with poignancy and craft.

Running time 55 minutes (no interval)
Traverse Theatre, 10 Cambridge St, EH1 2ED
Tuesday 28 September – Saturday 2 October 2021
Daily at 1pm; Thursday also 7pm

Information and tickets: Book here.

Christina Strachan. Pic: Leslie Black


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