Sweet FA is a fantastic production about Scottish women playing football during the First World War (and after) at a unique venue: Tynecastle Park Football Stadium, where this show takes place. With lovely singing, original songs, a simple, clever set and great costumes, this is a brilliant production that deserves a larger audience.
The venue is further out than the majority of fringe venues and a little different (I doubt I would have enjoyed the wedding I nearly gatecrashed on the way in quite as much as the show). It was also a little difficult to find, but the extra effort was worth it for the atmospheric portrayal of women’s football in Scotland, delivered in the very stadium the show depicts.
The purpose built, intimate stage, raised above the pitch is perfect, changing effectively between scenes to show the factory where the women work, football training, a match day – with just the use of boxes and wooden worktops. The most effective tool in demonstrating time moving on and the show progressing is the use of simple costume changes and additions; a football scarf, overcoat and hat to depict a match, an apron for the workplace. Additionally, a clever scene change style is used, where characters break the fourth wall and explicitly tell the audience what scene number we are at, then give some narration as to the context. This allows the pace of the show to remain swift, whilst still including excellent levels of detail, doing justice to the historical and factual side of the show.
The small but perfectly formed duo of actor-musicians playing instruments throughout keep the scene changes lively and deliver a beautiful underscore to the original songs. The lyrics are catchy, the music up-tempo. Watching this show the week after the lionesses brought football home made it even more poignant, and as the end of the performance narrated how far football has come since the depicted events. It’s inspiring that they recognised this feat.
The show also portrays lesbian footballers, which reminds the audience that LGBTQ+ women have always existed, and gives agency to the characters, portraying their whole selves alongside the game they fight so hard to play.
Sweet FA is an inspiring, brilliantly original musical, performed by a cast of talented women who all bring joy and emotion to the catchy songs and heartfelt dialogue. It’s a beautiful portrayal of a key part of Scottish women’s history and their love of football, at a fantastically unique and relevant venue.
Produced by: This Is My Story Productions
Sweet FA plays at EdFringe 2022 until 23 August. More information and bookings here.