James Phelps to Star in New London Play

James Phelps will star in new London play The Greater Game in the role of Richard McFadden, a war hero and star footballer. The play is based on They Took the Lead, a book by Stephen Jenkins, which tells the true story of 42 footballers in England who enlisted in the Great War.

The story focuses on the connection between two friends and footballers who gave up their sport and ultimately their lives in the Battle of the Somme, the bloodiest battle in history. Richard McFadden, played by Phelps, and William Jones, played by Steven Bush, met at the age of seven and traveled from Newcastle to London together to play for Clapton Orient. The two eventually decide to sign up for the war and head to France in order to fight for their country. The Greater Game tells an incredible story of “love friendship, triumph, and loss.”

 

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Phelps, who has only done a few small acting roles since Harry Potter, is thrilled to be cast as McFadden. The script really resonated with him with just the first read through.

When the director sent me the script I read through it and loved it; it genuinely made me laugh and cry. I couldn’t believe it was a true story and the script captures both the banter of the dressing room and harsh truths about what life must [have] been like back then.

The Greater Game, directed by Adam Morley, will be presented as part of Football Remembers, an initiative set up a variety of soccer leagues to support projects commemorating the Armistice and conclusion of the First World War centenary. It will run at the Waterloo East Theatre from October 30 to November 25.

 

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Producer Peter Kitchen commented on the success of the show’s run at the Southwark Playhouse in 2017 and how great of an opportunity it is to tell the story again to new audiences.

The last show got a standing ovation every night and word of mouth lead to over 4,000 people seeing the first production, which we are all very proud of, so to get the chance to tell this amazing true story one more time and do justice to the men and woman who sacrificed so much 100 years ago is a real honor.

Some of the shows have already sold out, so if you plan on seeing Phelps in this incredible new play, you should get your tickets soon. You can find more information about the play and buy your tickets here.

Press Release
James Phelps Swaps A Wizard Wand For A Rifle In New London Play

James takes to the stage in play based on [a] true story

James Phelps knows all about big battles being a casulty isic] in the Battle of Hogwarts, now James is traveling back in time to fight in the battle of the Somme, the bloodiest battle in human history, playing war hero and star footballer Richard McFadden, a role he is delighted to play

‘When the director sent me the script I read through it and loved it, it genuinely made me laugh and cry, I couldn’t believe it was a true story and the script captures both the banter of the dressing room and harsh truths about what life must [have] been like back then’ explains the former Hogwarts prankster.

Other cast members include Michael Greco and award[-]winning actors Paul Marlon (Communion, Dangerous Mind Of A Hooligan, Essex Boys Retribution) and Scott Kyle (Outlander, Kilo Two Bravo, The Angels Share) as well as Victoria Gibson and Helena Doughty who some of the more keenly eyed readers may recognize for their connections to both the football and theatre world. All of these line up under the stewardship of multi award[-]winning director Adam Morley who will present The Greater Game as part of Football Remembers, a pan football initiative set up by the FA, Premier League, English Football League (EFL) and PFA which will support a range of projects commemorating the Armistice and conclusion of the First World War Centenary.

The Greater Game tells the true story of some of the footballers who signed up to fight in the Great War, focusing on lifelong friends Richard McFadden (James Phelps) and William Jonas (Steven Bush) who travelled from Newcastle to London to play football for Clapton Orient, before swapping England for France to ‘fight for King and Country’ – a fight neither one would survive. More than a story of football or war, The Greater Game is a story of love, friendship, sacrifice, triumph and loss.

“a mix of harsh reality and tender and cherished moments” ★★★★★ Guardian Series

After a 5 star run at the Southwark Playhouse in 2017, The Greater Game has been re-drafted and is set to come back even stronger for a run at the Waterloo East Theatre from October 30th to November 25th. Some nights have already sold out to the show critiques raved about:

“Make the effort to see this, it is well worth while [sic]” ★★★★★ West End Wilma

“It is very rare you get a chance to tell a true story where the families of the fallen are directly involved’ said producer and O’s legend Peter Kitchen ‘even more so when it is such a touching yet funny true story’. ‘The last show got a standing ovation every night and word of mouth lead to over 4k people seeing the first production, which we are all very proud of, so to get the chance to tell this amazing true story one more time and do justice to the men and woman who sacrificed so much 100 years ago is a real honour”

The show was written by Michael Head on the back of his 5[-]star show ‘Worth A Flutter’ which is currently being considered for a West End Transfer following a highly successful run at The Hope Theatre.

Michael said; “to get the chance to tell this story, to touch so many and bring an audience to tears and fill the theatre with laugher [sic] was a real pleasure and this time everything is set to be even stronger than our first run”.

Tickets can be booked via https://www.waterlooeast.co.uk/the-greater-game

Reviews for The Greater Game

“Make the effort to see this, it is well worth while [sic]” ★★★★★ West End Wilma

“a mix of harsh reality and tender and cherished moments” ★★★★★ Guardian Series

“A rollercoaster ride through the troubles of friendship and war” ★★★★ Musical Theatre Musings

“Engaging and touching” The Stage

“[playwright] Michael Head brings humour” What’s On Stage