This is the one where critics who spend most of their time in the theatre show off their football knowledge. In my case, it won’t take long. In fact one of the best things about Bend It Like Beckham is that you don’t have to give a referee’s toss about the beautiful game, and you don’t need to have seen the 2002 movie.
Rejoice! In the midst of Fifa’s dismal doings musical theatre makes football beautiful again. Gurinder Chadha’s and Paul Mayeda Berges’ fable, of a British-Asian teenage girl longing to play football rather than cook dhal and live traditionally, was beloved on screen but emerges all the stronger for being driven by Howard Goodall’s music and Charles Hart’s lyrics. It’s a lovely show, with the rare quality in musicals of feeling all-of-a-piece: one solid creation by a team who understand one another and were allowed to get on with it.