Zigger Zagger, Wilton's Music Hall | Review

Friday 8 September 2017

Zigger Zagger
Wilton's Music Hall
Reviewed on Thursday 7th September 2017 by Alex Saddiqi

I personally was unfamiliar of the work of Peter Terson prior to my viewing of the National Youth Theatre production of Zigger Zagger, so I was watching this performance with no context and knowledge prior. I only knew the subject of what the performance was based around.

Zigger Zagger tells the story of Harry Hilton played by Josh Barrow, an avid fan of his local football team, torn between the life of sex, drink and violence which football hooliganism offers and the prospect of a stable future. It's one of the first stories to capture the culture of football hooliganism and was the National Youth Theatre's first ever new writing commission.

Watching the entire performance, I was blown away by the ensemble moments that were dotted throughout. I felt as though they were very well presented and the vocals of the entire cast resonated  throughout the whole venue and created beautiful sounds. Also, the vibe of the 70s/80s setting around the piece was very well presented; from the Jackie magazine to the music that was played, even down to the choreography. While we are on the subject of music I have to highlight the outstanding work of the musicians who played live during the piece. They both worked very well together to create some lovely sounds that really benefitted many of the scenes. 

There are a huge array of characters that show very interesting development as the story progresses and the actors who portray them do a brilliant job. There are some rich and beautiful character relationships with one another that are very strong and I found great pleasure in watching how the story unfolded. There was so much talent and professionalism during this show, especially from some of the younger performers. 

They all seemed in the moment and seemed to be really indulging in the world that was built around them of this 70s/80s football hooligan setting. There are visuals inside the piece that are very interesting and turn the set from one space to another. 

At some points there were parts of the show where you could see actors crossing in the back of a scene or shadows cast by cast members which distracted from some points on the centre stage, but such a minor “inconvenience” does not distract from the hard work and power that each cast member has put into this show. If I were to put the piece in a rating out of five stars I would give it a four out of five and I would recommend this show to others especially young people who might find passion in the arts and theatre as a whole.


  1. "I personally was unfamiliar of the work of Peter Terson"

    I know him of old but he seems to have gone from one of the most interesting voices of the 60s/70s to a non-person over the last few decades. Look on the shelves of the NT bookshop and you'll see not one of Terson's many scripts. He seems to have been frozen out since 1985's "Strippers" (a sort of precursor of "The Full Monty" only with working class women stripping in pubs to keep the family budget afloat) which was picketed by puritanical feminists. Whether that is enough to explain why a near-masterpiece like "Zigger Zagger" or a poignant two-hander like "Mooney and his Caravans", both of which examine working class life with more insight than some more fashionable playwrights could dream of, never get staged. I see no mainstream papers even seem to have sent a reviewer to "Zigger Zagger"'s 50th birthday.

    "If I were to put the piece in a rating out of five stars I would give it a four out of five "

    I agree. I travelled 200 miles to see this, mindful of the fact that it might be the last chance I get. I took the chance that I might be disappointed, having viewed the past through rose-tinted glasses, but it was even better than I dared expect. It was superb, wasn't it?

    1. wow that's amazing that you travelled from so far and really enjoyed it! I'll certainly be investigating some of his other work xx