We Love You Norwich... We Do

All the tingles came back as the audience relived the success and despair of being a Norwich City supporter.

All the tingles came back as the audience relived the success and despair of being a Norwich City supporter.

The first night of We Love You Norwich, We Do turned last night's audience at Norwich Playhouse into a yellow-clad crowd as the cast led chant after chant.

The cast of three men and one woman charted a course through the Canaries' history. Starting with the first match at the Nest, it took in cup runs in 1959 and 1985, with the central character, John, emerging as a one-man supporters' club.

The play, written and directed by Robin Hodson, was littered with chants and memories, from Barry Butler and Kevin Keelan to Malky Mackay, Iwan Roberts and a touching moment of silence for Justin Fashanu.

Fans relived the exhilaration and torture of last year's play-off final at Cardiff, a smattering of insults thrown at everyone from Alan Hansen to Robert Chase and derisory digs at Ipswich.

There were rough edges in this rollercoaster ride through four generations of a football-mad family, but a sense it is a show by fans for fans.

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The show is the first put on by Norwich City Theatre Company, a new company designed to bring professional theatre to the region. Cast members are based in Norfolk, with Charlie Cambridge, playing Robert, having applied for the part, enclosing a picture of himself at the Millennium Stadium.

And while the show threatened to lose its way around 1985, a well-written and carefully acted parallel between John's life and the fortunes of his team drew the play to a strong climax, closing with the cast and audience chanting “We love you Norwich, we do”.

t The play continues at Norwich Playhouse until Saturday May 17. Box office: 01603 598598.