Edinburgh Fringe 2013
A footballer, a prince and a prime minister walk into a hotel room… David Beckham, Prince William and David Cameron arrive in Zurich the night before England’s bid for the 2018 World Cup. Between them they thrash out a plan that will woo Fifa and bring the beautiful game home. But as precious minutes tick by, things start to go disastrously and deliciously wrong. Whatever else is at stake, this is more, much more, than a question of sport. William Gaminara’s new comedy reveals at last what really went on behind the scenes.
Three Lions is a classy production in Pleasance Beyond, making great use of the space to tell the story of three very famous men. Centered around David Cameron, David Beckham and Prince William, Three Lions describes their trials and tribulations of attempting to secure the World Cup 2018 for England.
Arriving in a Swiss hotel room, a farcical comedy unfolds around them, including the obligatory mis-booked rooms, wet trousers and sexual indiscretions. Cameron seems to be holding the motley crew together despite distractions from Nick Clegg in London and the plot follows a series of meetings and debriefs in various hotel rooms.
A colonial element is represented in the appearance of an obedient Indian waiter who believes in the integrity and supremacy of the English nation as they battle against other nations to receive the honour of hosting the football tournament.
The set was detailed and cleverly designed to expand and contract – the size of the hotel rooms reflecting each man’s supposed wealth and influence over the situation.
The impressions of each man were skillfully executed and the talents of the cast shone throughout. The Smurfette Penny was engagingly portrayed by Alice Bailey-Johnson, and Ravi Aujla showed a strong range with his portrayal of the hotel employee brothers.
Three Lions could have delved deeper into the personalities of these three prominent men rather portraying superficial caricatures. There is a massive potential to show a sensitive and well-observed interaction in this intimate setting, however the writing always just skimmed the surface.
William Gaminara’s writing seemed hell bent on portraying Cameron as a silly, argumentative, and uncaring blusterer and the other two as just plain stupid. The only surprising character trait was Prince Wiliam’s penchant for practical jokes, although this was at odds with the rest of his poker face, posh-boy characterization. A more natural and sensitive portrayal would have revealed more opportunities for humour beyond the obvious.
There was a good twist at the end; without giving too much away it became clear that the aim of the piece was to comment on Cameron’s relationship with journalism pre-Levenson.