Every Single Saturday

Every Single Saturday
Written and directed by Joanna Weinberg. Tuggeranong Arts Centre, Canberra
 - May 11-15, 2010. Casula Powerhouse, Liverpool
 - Sat 12 June at 2pm and 8pm. The Parade Space, NIDA, Kensington
- September 13 to October 10

For four parents waking on the morning of their children’s last game of the year, there’s a lot at stake: in the evening is Trophy Night, when they’ll find out which two kids have been selected for the junior team that will travel to South Africa with the Socceroos for the World Cup. Liz fusses over her son Jamie, all quiet dignity until she screams out that he’s forgotten his sunblock. Sandy calculates the joule content of her daughter Maddy’s orange juice, while sneering at Maddy’s weight behind her back. Carlo longs for his son Tony to excel at soccer, when all Tony wants to do is sing.

Neil doesn’t fit with this world at all. He’s an orchestral conductor, and not only does he not understand soccer, he views the whole experience with horror. He barely knows his son Becks, having been summoned from Europe when told his son would like to meet his father. The main story of the show then is Neil’s slow acceptance of soccer, and of his son.

I loved Every Single Saturday last night, despite thinking I'd hate it, being a team sports loather who usually winces through musicals. The songs were great, it was funny, it was moving, in places it was appropriately crude, and the end was hysterical. Joanna Weinberg has a long and successful history with musical theatre, and it shows—the songs range from jazzy theatrical numbers to the rousing pseudo-operatic finale, which would probably bring tears to a soccer tragic’s eye.

The cast is all strong both acting and singing, almost overwhelming the little intimate stage of the Tuggeranong Arts Centre. In fact, it’s hard not to think that it deserves a bigger and better setting. It may be that they’re squeezing the last drops out of an Australian Council for the Arts grant, but the set, lights and props are minimalist in the extreme, to the extent that before the music starts you might imagine it to be amateur experimental theatre, which it isn’t at all. I felt the show would benefit from a little more distance from the audience and more props, better lighting etc. That said, it shows the strength of the material that it shines so much without any glitz. There are a couple of small, comic timing issues in the spoken sections, but it’s very early days for this brand new show, and you’d expect that these will improve.

The marketing material is pitching the show mainly at the legions of sports parents who will relate to the rituals. But the show isn’t about Soccer rules and regs, training regimes or ugly sideline sledging. It’s about passion, and that’s contagious. Support local talent—go see it!

Cathy Bannister

Photo: Geoff Sirmai (as Carlo) and Matt Young (as Neil) in Every Single Saturday

Further reading

Interview with writer / composer Joanna Weinberg

Review of 2012 production

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