‘Zigger- Zagger’

10/09/2017 // by Jan Moran Neil

‘Zigger-Zagger, Zigger-Zagger, Oi, Oi, Oi’ by Ms Paige Turner

Fifty years ago Peter Terson’s ‘Zigger-Zagger’ was staged for the first time at the Jeanetta Cochrane Theatre in Holbein by the National Youth Theatre. Terson tells the story of Harry Philpot, who initially finds some meaning in life by becoming a football fan. Quite frankly, he gets buggered from all sides: a flighty mother who introduces him to a number of ‘uncles’; a medical officer who finds him physically lacking for the army; a careers officer who gives him a job as the human end to an automated fruit packing conveyor belt; a rowdy gang of football hooligans who introduce him to petty crime; a bitchy girlfriend who falls in love with a football celebrity and a boring sister and brother-in-law who present a cosy but boring lifestyle. The scenes all take place in front of a backdrop of 50-100 football fans who, Greek chorus like, ‘comment’ on Harry’s progress or lack of it. The possession of Harry’s soul is the central goal of the play that even the football fan vicar does not succeed in winning. Who knows where Harry’s soul will end up?
I went to see ‘Zigger’ last week at Wilton’s Music Hall in Whtechapel staged again by the National Youth Theatre. It doesn’t lose its touch and at its core it’s as relevant today as it was fifty years ago. I wasn’t in the original production but I did play bitchy girlfriend Sandra to Karl Howman’s Harry in 1972, graduating to Harry’s (Patrick Field) insipid sister Edna in 1975, both at the Shaw Theatre for the National Youth Theatre.
It was uplifting to see the play on the go again. The part of Harry is usually played by a Cockney which would have been appropriate considering the location of the staging but I was pretty blown away by Josh Barrow’s Geordie protagonist. After all, the playwright himself is a Geordie.
I was also conscious that when I performed in ‘Zigger’ in the seventies the future lay before me and now it is mostly behind. But hey, how lucky was I to be part of it: not once but twice. Yay to all that energy.
Creative Ink for Writers’ classes start this week and we are full.

Jan’s upcoming perfs of ‘Red Lipstick & Revelations’:

Gerrards Cross Philosophical and Literary Festival/Poems and Pints – Saturday 23rd September.

7.30 pm for 8pm at The Memorial Centre, East Common, Gerrards Cross, SL9 7AD. £8 to include a drink. Tickets available on the door and in aid of the Memorial Centre and Mind.
Contact Jan if you would like to read from and sell your poetry collection.

Hazlemere Library – National Poetry Day – Thursday 28th September 2017

10.30 am to 11.30 am. Free Entry



One thought on “‘Zigger- Zagger’

  1. john moore says:

    Yes, i remember it well. It’s where Henry V111th went for a bit of jigger-jagger.

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