A play of two halves

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The Independent Culture
"For alarmingly large chunks of an average day, I am a moron!" Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch, the chronicle of an otherwise intelligent man's obsession with Arsenal, had an awareness that this was a thoroughly daft way to behave. Paul Hodson's stage a daptation puts this wry self-consciousness to the fore, employing comically impassioned dissections of the Gunners' inept defence to throw light on the narrator's failed relationships - his "away defeats". Stephen North (above) is better known for wearin g a fireman's helmet in London's Burning than an Arsenal strip. His performance isn't an athletic one, but Fever Pitch isn't about frenzied fanaticism; North's narrator is affable, as if he himself can't quite understand how he came to develop such a bat teryof terrace superstitions and an extensive vocabulary of John Motson-ese. After spending most of 1994 on tour, the show moves into the West End, complete with voice-over by Desmond Lynam. For 90 minutes (plus injury time), it will keep even hardened football-loathers glued to the action.

Arts Theatre, Gt Newport St, WC1 from Mon 16 Jan