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Why I Stuck A Flare Up My Arse For England Review

Reviewed by Lauren Russell 
Disclaimer: ticket was gifted in return for an honest review


Created by RoxyDog Productions, this one man show written and performed by Alex Hill, is everything you could want from fringe theatre. A boys journey into manhood with football leading the way. The ‘beautiful game’ is everything to Billy McKingley and his best mate Adam; they are proud of their devotion, it’s their religion, their life. That is until he realises that perhaps sticking a flare in an obscene place isn’t just ‘for a laugh’, and perhaps being a rebellious die-hard fan can cause more downs then ups. Directed by Sean Turner (who directed the Play That Goes Wrong), the show is daringly engaging, heartbreaking, and hilarious; we hang onto every word from start to finish.

The black box theatre was buzzing as though there was a cast of five. A tremendous amount of energy from Hill brought to life other characters, like Winegum; ‘the king’ of their tribe of hooliganism, a stereotypical character we all recognise from our local pubs. A thug who has been idolised and feared simultaneously, especially by Billy and AdamWho’s friendship begins to deteriorate when loyalty is given the red card. 

The pace and flow throughout gave the story a mesmerising edge - Hill never dropped the ball, pardon the pun. There is one particularly brilliant scene when Billy has to miss his usual Saturday football ritual, and instead experiences his first trip to the theatre; Les Misérables. We are suddenly the audience of the popular musical and Billy comically squeezes down a row to take his seat, continuing his storytelling and making the audience laugh out loud.

Past the England boxers and the Three Lions on his shirt is a young lad longing to find his place in the world, so much so that he doesn’t realise the mental health of his best friend worsening. 
This script has a well-balanced narrative, and is very poignant which was completely unexpected.

If you think the play is just a laugh about footy - you’re wrong. It’s that, and so much more. A must see!

Why I Stuck A Flare Up My Arse For England played at the 2023 Edinburgh Fringe. Follow @bumflareplay on X (Twitter) or on Instagram for future updates.

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