The play follows Billy, a young man whose love of football is the dominant feature in his life, religiously attending every match day without fail. After falling into a rougher crowd, Billy and his best friend Adam find themselves engaging in increasingly extreme behaviour that starts to dominate their lives.
An incredible new play written and performed by Alex Hill
It is clear from the beginning that Hill carries the energy of an entire fanbase as he storms the stage with power and passion, creating the riotous atmosphere of a crowd. His storytelling is captivating and demands attention, conveying Billy’s love of football with great intensity and vigour. This helps the audience understand his obsession with belonging as he attempts to impress his fellow supporters in stunts of toxic masculinity.
The writing is splendid, echoing the likes of ‘Dear England’ and ‘Death of England’. Hill’s depiction of football culture is both scarily accurate and shocking, highlighting the dangerous and addictive nature of becoming a ‘hard core’ fan. The demanding script is further elevated by Hill’s unwavering confidence on stage, earnestly effusing anger so consistently that it is almost absurd, which is hysterical to watch. He is without a doubt committed to his character, who comes across as wholly authentic and three dimensional. The audience guffaw with laughter when Billy takes a culture trip to the theatre, which I won’t spoil, but is an absolute sight to behold. The comic timing in both the script and in Hill’s performance is spot on.
Some additional touches make this play soar, such as the clever use of music and Hill’s polished movement and physicality that aids the momentum and storytelling. The directorial decisions were very strong throughout the piece, much to the credit of director Sean Turner and dramaturg Jake Vithana.
Most importantly, this play evocatively tells a story of one man’s experience of imposed masculinity, violence and herd mentality. Hill highlights the dangers of any extremist pastime, and how easy it can be to become caught up in their currents, often obscuring the pain and hurt that you or those around you are experiencing. Why I Stuck A Flare Up My Arse For England is a gem of a play and a true highlight of Fringe. Alex Hill is definitely one to watch.