Words: Angela Ferguson. Photos: Will Hay, Steve Cain and Angela Ferguson
We are incredibly fortunate here in Chester to have many talented creative folk amongst us. Gail Young is one such person, having penned a number of critically acclaimed plays including Cheshire Cats, Head Over Heels and Bouncing Back which have played to packed houses in Chester and across the country.
Gail first staged Bouncing Back, focusing on a group of women returners to netball, at Chester’s Forum Studio Theatre in 2016. Since this year sees the Netball World Cup taking place in Liverpool, she decided that it was time to bring the play back and she has also directed this particular production.
We were fortunate enough to be there at the first whistle to mark the start of the run at the Garrett Theatre in Storyhouse. The play, which was staged there from 29 May to 1 June, then transfers to the Royal Court Theatre in Liverpool from 10-13 July. The Netball World Cup is on from 12-21 July.
Trials and tribulations
Netball was a natural choice of topic for Gail, whose younger sister is a netball coach and PE teacher. Gail’s research for writing the play included observing training sessions with the Golborne Back 2 Netball initiative, helping her to devise this inspirational and uplifting look at the trials and tribulations of a group of women deciding to get back into the sport after a number of years.
And we in the audience certainly enjoyed some slick team work unfolding in front of us, with some astounding takes on the ups and downs of being in a netball team. The choreography really was something to behold as we were drawn into the drama, both on and off the court. Well done to all of the talented cast and crew, including movement coach Harriet Feeny, for producing such a moving comical masterpiece.
Eileen Reisin was perfect as calmly confident team coach Trisha. She was always there with the right word or gesture to nurture her diverse team, some of whom hadn’t played netball since their school days.
Gum-chewing goal shooter
And Fiona MacSween was a powerful force to be reckoned with as gum-chewing goal shooter ASBO. Meanwhile, Joanne Sartorius was endearing as upbeat cocktail-loving team member Micky Owens.
Mention must also be made of the gregarious and charismatic performance from Andrew Heath as a DJ and photographer. Oh, and if you fancy heading into Liverpool in July to watch this, then keep an ear out for a little cameo or two from Gail Young herself.
We give Bouncing Back a goaltastic score of five stars.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
To book tickets to see Bouncing Back in July, head to the Royal Court Theatre website.