‘It’s ………. Rebekah Vardy’s account.’
With those four words (and ten beautifully-judged, intrigue-inspiring dots) began Colleen Rooney’s captivatingly chaotic, jaw-droppingly messy celebrity feud. And now, truly, the theatre gods are smiling upon us: the most sensational tabloid story of the last two years (and, quite possibly, in all of human history) has come to the West End.
Yes, there is a theatrical adaptation of the Rebekah Vardy v Coleen Rooney libel trial now which was immediately and rightly dubbed the Wagatha Christie trial following Rooney’s inspired use of Instagram Stories to suss out the person – or at the very least ………. the account – who was leaking her private life to the press.
Happily, in a case where truth is potentially stranger than fiction, and certainly more theatrical than most theatre, the play is entirely based on verbatim court transcripts (seven days of them, lovingly cut down to the very juiciest bits), giving you the sensation of being there in court watching it all play out.
Highbrow theatre snobs should scoff at their peril. It’s been adapted by Liv Hennessy, and is directed directed by Lisa Spirling (Artistic Director of Theatre 503). If it’s drama you want – could there be any more drama than the story of two public figures, maligned as ‘Wags’ yet undoubtedly celebrities in their own right, slugging it out? You want high stakes – how about the collapse of friendships, the ruining of reputations, all set against the backdrop of one of the most expensive libel cases in British history? And as for thematic relevance? Try the very essence of modern celebrity, the complicity of the media, and the interplay between the two. Truly, this is a play for our times.
And as for the reviews? The verdict is in: it’s pretty good. The Times give it four stars, and the Guardian three. It’s generally been judged to be an even handed romp that doesn’t punch down on any of its protagonists.
NOTE: Vardy V Rooney, The Wagatha Christie Trial is currently booking up until January 10th at the Wyndham Theatre. You can find out more, and get tickets (£32.50+) at the website right here.
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