More Than A Game: The Unauthorized Footy Show Musical

More Than A Game The Unauthorized Footy Show Musical Adelaide Fringe 2021★★★★

Walter Buckley. The Jade. 12 Mar 2021


Walter Buckley is living his dream. Inspired in his not-so-long-ago teenage years by David Gauci - Adelaide’s own cabaret entertainer and producer - at the Music Theatre Camp, Buckley is starring in his very own world premiere musical for which he wrote the music and lyrics as well. And it’s a Grand Final win!


Pals, footy fans, screenwriters and film makers Michael Whyntie and Jacob Buckley were inspired by the 2016 AFL Footy Show spectacle of retired player Billy Brownless tearily exposing the affair between his ex-wife Nicky and mate Garry Lyons. From here, Whyntie and Buckley delve deep into Brownless’s misery to great mirth capitalising on footy player stereotypes – vanity, drinking, insensitivity, partying, and social stupidity. The wife doesn’t come off so well either, appearing as a gold digger and then focusing on the alimony. I don’t know whether Brownless is an innocent vehicle for stereotypical footy buffoonery or if this is a deliberate character assassination of the hapless Brownless; the former could be mistaken for the latter and the latter would indeed be cruel.


For one attending without a priori knowledge of the actual events and not musing on the ethics, the musical is a little ripper. It’s a pretty tightly written story with highly illustrative scenes of the main events, be them in a pub, restaurant, locker room or family court. The use of high resolution back screen projection with effective perspective is very successful. The songs weave seamlessly with the narrative. Walter Buckley is a dynamic performer and the entire cast sings and performs with crash-through credibility and cheeky amusement.


It was a near sellout crowd and The Jade is the best Fringe venue. A definite go-see. 4 Stars for the show, 1 Star for empathy.


David Grybowski


When: 1 to 21 Mar

Where: The Jade