A Surrey rugby club, Warlingham RFC, will swap the training pitch for the London theatre stage this September. Players from Warlingham and neighbouring clubs will stage an adaptation of Steven Gauge’s book My Life as a Hooker at the Museum of Comedy in Bloomsbury from 21 September as England hosts the Rugby World Cup finals. Warlingham RFC is the club where England Rugby captain Chris Robshaw played his rugby as a young boy.
The play tells Steven Gauge’s story of taking up rugby at the age of 35 as part of a mild mid-life crisis. He discovers a weird, wonderful and welcoming selection of players and wins himself a place in the front row of the Warlingham scrum. He is taught the laws of the game, in some cases rather painfully by opposition players, but he eventually rises to become captain of the Warlingham 4th XV.
Warlingham 4th XV turns out to be the third worst side in Surrey yet under Gauge’s leadership rises to be only the 4th worst. Audiences will be treated to the delights of a club tour to Bognor and share the camaraderie, comedy and sheer joy of grown men of all shapes and sizes chasing an oval ball around a muddy pitch.
The book My Life as a Hooker was shortlisted in the British Sports Book awards in 2013 and is published by Summersdale. Journalist and broadcaster Samira Ahmed said of the book, “Steven Gauge writes with charm, wit, intelligence and real insight.” Luke Benedict, rugby writer for the Daily Mail said, “If this is what a midlife crisis does for you, I want one.”
The book has been adapted for the stage by Steven Gauge who will play himself in the production, supported by a cast drawn from fellow rugby players from Warlingham and other local clubs. The play will run from Monday 21 September to Saturday 26 from 7pm. Tickets are on sale now from the Museum of Comedy website: www.museumofcomedy.com. The play is part of the Festival of Rugby 2015 and coincides with the opening week of the Rugby World Cup.