Review Round Up: Vardy Vs Rooney, Ambassadors Theatre

The theatrical take on the trial that had the country enthralled transfers to the Ambassadors Theatre for a limited run before embarking on a UK tour. But what have critics had to say about it?

(c)Pamela Raith

Broadway World: **** “Although the source material may be outrageously superficial, the women of this show are anything but. Their depictions of England’s most famous WAGs (and their associates) uphold the notion that the humanity is more complicated and dissecting that is far more rewarding than explaining the offside rule.”

Lost in Theatreland: *** 1/2 “Despite the good directing of Lisa Spirling that breaks up the case with great goal shot poses by both the solicitors when they score a point and gives you a gripping tennis-court-like exchange of well-planned blows, you can still see that production was put together in a haste last year. It is the re-telling of a well-known story while missing the chance to take a closer look on the current celebrity culture, the use of social media, the bad influence stardom, fabulously curated lives, and the perceived glamour of Instagram have on our society. 

West End Best Friend: ** “The cast are solid, doing as well as they can with an undramatic script and a courtroom setting in which everyone is on their best, formal behaviour at the same even, measured pitch throughout the entire proceedings. Notable mentions go to the leads Lucy May Barker and Laura Dos Santos for their impressions of Vardy and Rooney, as well as Nathan McCullen who doubles as Wayne Rooney and Jamie Vardy alongside his role as a pundit.”

The Upcoming: *** “Ultimately, the show is at its best when it sticks to being a courtroom drama. At those moments, it bristles with tension as Barker and Dos Santos are shrewdly interrogated by the delightful pairing of Tom Turner’s David Sherborne and Jonnie Broadbent’s Hugh Tomlinson QC. Thankfully, the talents of the cast shine through when the script centres around this. Even multi-roling pundits Halema Hussain and Nathan McMullen are more lustrous when they play characters directly involved in the court case.”

Jonathan Baz Reviews: **** “The pace is fast, witty and perceptive – and it’s a mark of the show’s role as a record of very modern history, that nearly all of the laughs come from the trial’s verbatim transcripts. What brings the dryness of the English legal system to life however is the outstanding performances from Lucy May Barker and Laura Dos Santos as, respectively, Vardy and Rooney, with equally brilliant turns from Tom Turner as Rooney’s barrister David Sherborne and Jonathan Broadbent as Vardy’s silk Hugh Tomlinson.”

(c)Pamela Raith

Theatre Weekly: “Despite already knowing the story, and knowing what the end result is, Vardy V Rooney The Wagatha Christie Trial is terrifically gripping.  As we bounce back and forth between all the players, the stakes never seemed higher, and every time an own goal is scored, the audience get to feel just a twinge of satisfaction.”

London ** “But, due to court transcripts providing the story, there’s little opportunity for character development and any imaginative storytelling. What did the wives think of each other behind closed doors? It’s tricky to understand the pair’s longtime feud. It sizzles, but it doesn’t bang.”

All That Dazzles: **** “This play really is an unexpected delight – sensational in its approach thanks to the often absurdity of the claims and in particular Vardy’s responses, it translates to the stage effortlessly thanks to inspired direction and ingenious additions to the writing in the style of the correspondents. Brought to life by a truly remarkable cast, what has been created has ended up being something incredibly special. The verdict is in. It’s……. a hit.”

The Reviews Hub: *** 1/2 “Director Lisa Spirling realises that the transcript of the trial contains enough comedy to fill an evening and, rather than overplaying the absurdity of it all, settles for an overriding lightness of tone. Fittingly, designer Polly Sullivan’s courtroom set does not look like a place where the death sentence would ever have been handed down.”

(c)Pamela Raith

The Arts Desk: **** “Sparky adaptation of legal spat puts verbatim theatre in football context.”

Theatre and Tonic: *** “Overall I found Wagatha Christie to be entertaining and easy to watch. It remains true to the real-life events and brings the courtroom dramas, and two well-known UK WAGs, to life. If your interest was piqued by this case, I recommend booking tickets to get the lowdown in less than two hours!”

London Unattached: “Vardy v Rooney is a hoot but one that leaves you feeling ever so slightly guilty about laughing at the folly of others. Social media, competitive WAG pecking orders, football, money, jealousy, the right to privacy (or not) and, of course, the skulduggery of the press – they are all here. You don’t have to be an expert in any of these things or even to have closely followed the real trial to enjoy Vardy v Rooney: The Wagatha Christie Play.”

Box Office Radio: ***** “Overall, Vardy V Rooney: the Wagatha Christie Trial is a real gem of a show, capturing a moment in pop culture history and preserving it in a hilarious and entertaining way. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a fantastic night out at the theatre. It’s a five-star show that you won’t want to miss!”

Vardy vs Rooney: The Wagatha Christie Trial continues to play at the Ambassadors Theatre. To book tickets click here.

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