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Cover to Vocal SelectionsThe Beautiful Game

Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber; Lyrics by Ben Elton

Cambridge Theatre, London. September 26, 2000

Story

In Belfast, in the late 60s, a horde of keen adolescents play soccer. Unhappily these matches are accompanied by locker-room religious skirmishes which later develop into serious sectarian divisions, fatal attacks and internment. The story traces the decline of the player's team after winning the cup in 1969 and follows the members of the team and their various fortunes: some get knee-capped or worse; others turn traitor or flee to America.

A Protestant is excluded from the Catholic team which meets under the watchful eye of Father O'Donnell. This latter is a cleric who is football mad. Del, the Protestant boy is brutally intimidated and expelled by Catholic boys led by Thomas, who is clearly first-rate IRA material. It is not long before masked Protestant bully-boys vandalise the team's dressing rooms and, after the team wins the cup, another gang tortures and murders Greg, a sweet-natured, ginger-haired tubby lad who has just had his first kiss. Daniel starts stealing car radios and takes his first steps in drugs. he sectarian criminal underworld culture of Northern Ireland is being born.

The romantic heart of the story is about politically conscious Mary and innocent, handsome, football-mad John, who almost gets to play for Everton but is sucked into the conflict; and Christine, who marries Protestant Del and receives vile abuse from other Catholic girls. The two leave, with their baby, for America. And so the alternatives are: silence, exile or killing.

Musical Numbers:

Original cast - Album cover

 

  1. Overture - Orchestra
  2. The Beautiful Game - Company
  3. Clean the Kit - John, Thomas, Mary, Cronies
  4. Don't Like You - Mary, John
  5. God's Own Country - Mary, Protestant Girl
  6. Let Us Love In Peace - Christine, Del
  7. A Game of Two Halves Company
  8. Off to the Party Team and Father O'Donnell
  9. The Craic Company
  10. Our Kind of Love - Christine
  11. The Happiest Day - John, Mary, and Father O'Donnell
  12. To Have and to Hold - John, Mary and Company
  13. The First Time - Mary, John
  14. I'd Rather Die On My Feet Than Live On My Knees - Thomas
  15. The Selection - John and Team
  16. Dead Zone - John and Internment Camp Inmates
  17. If This Is What we're Fighting For - Mary
  18. All the Love I Have - John, Mary
  19. Finale - Mary, Sean, Father O'Donnell & Company

Discography:

Original London Cast - Telstar TCD 3160 (5 014469 531604)