Sports Day

Sports Day

Citizens Theatre, Glasgow

Loading article content

Neil Cooper

From the moment River City star, stage actress and musician Joyce Falconer shuffles onstage sporting a vivid pink tracksuit, Olivia Newton John sweatband and Chariots of Fire ringtone, it becomes clear that teamwork is at the heart of the Citz's big-scale community theatre response to the impending Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Falconer is Geraldine, the retiring but never shy janitor whose last day falls on the school sports day around which this compendium of sketches, songs and short plays is based.

With Geraldine the linking device, narrator and social glue between each, Falconer also becomes the fifth member of the show's rousing live band led by Michael John McCarthy.

From such a starting block, on an astroturf covered stage, we follow the lead-up to the main event through miniature dramas involving toffee-nosed headmasters, anxious parents, competitive dads and a family fending off bribes from dodgy politicians who offer them cash for fancy new training shoes.

There is a touching scene between a star runner who is also his father's carer, some off-piste bake-sale rivalry and a solo riff on rounders in which defeat is snatched from the jaws of victory.

Performed by a mammoth cast of 65, Guy Hollands and Neil Packham's production miraculously navigates the performers through each set-piece with a well co-ordinated brio that heroically manages to avoid them from crashing into each other.

So well knitted-together are things, in fact, that it's hard to tell who wrote what, although the likes of Peter Arnott, Lynda Radley, Douglas Maxwell and Linda McLean are certainly in there with 13 others in a show in which everyone is on the same side.