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Final Score
Tristan Bates Theatre
1st August 2012


Lisa Fulthorpe's original play, Final Score, unfolds one evening when two couples, all long-standing friends of 16 years, get together for some casual drinks at home, whilst their sons go out to celebrate their shared birthday. Underlying tensions rapidly erupt with the evening ending in disaster.

All four characters are initially presented as quite one dimensional. Christy (Natasha Staples) is a sweet, but not particularly interesting former hippy. Best friend Sam (Fiona McGee) is a melodramatic glamourpuss and party girl, who turns up for a night in wearing a stunning yet inappropriate and attention-seeking purple ballgown. Christy's husband Keith (Tomi May) is a typical geezer, focused on birds, booze and football. Sam's husband Eddy (Rob Maloney) is a put upon spouse, wearily going along with anything for an easy life.

However, as Sam's thinly veiled contempt for Eddy provokes the first argument, the four actors are given the chance to showcase a greater depth of character and truly shine. It is perhaps May's Keith who is given the least amount of layers to work with, but when his family life is threatened, we are allowed to see a glimpse of a real vulnerability behind the hard man. Although he seems to be the typical pushy-parent living vicariously through his child, his family's happiness is more important to him than he lets on.

Eddy's feelings of inadequacy and failure cause him to lash out, with his volatility at times comedic and at others menacing.

Chalk and cheese gal pals Christy and Sam play well against each other. Despite their disagreements, their fierce protectiveness as mothers, albeit portrayed in different ways, seems to be the link that may save their friendship.

Each character is fighting their own fears and demons, with parenthood causing the most worries. Christy and Keith's golden boy Fraser is on the verge of signing a £2million contract with Chelsea. He is contrasted by Sam and Eddy's son Frank, who by his own father's admission was sacked from ASDA for nicking doughnuts and only managed to get 2 GCSEs. Home video style footage of a young Fraser playing football reinforces the fact that the four individuals would never have become friends if not for their sons. It is a sweet and clever touch.

Set largely in only two rooms, the staging is very well thought out. Together with the use of lighting, this allows for separate but equally key scenes to take place at the same time.

Final Score is dramatic, sad, hilarious and above all deeply entertaining. This tale of dysfunction is certainly a very strong offering from the Player Playwrights.

Final Score ran from 30th July to 4th August 2012 at Tristan Bates Theatre, as part of the Camden Fringe.

Nearest tube station: Leicester Square (Piccadilly, Northern)

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