2 stars **
Underbelly, Bristo Square (Venue 300)
IN A STRIKINGLY subdued and intense style, this brief show from FYSA Theatre of South Yorkshire commemorates the Valley Parade fire disaster of 1985, when the stadium at Bradford City’s football ground burned down, and 56 fans lost their lives. To say that the show’s approach is untheatrical is to understatte the case. The three characters simply sit on terrace-like benches recounting their experience of the day, drawn from verbatim testimony, in voices sometimes so soft as to be barely audible.
There are some tremendously vivid stories here, though; and also some interesting reflections on the legacy of such a disaster, both in whole lifetimes of pain and grief, and in genuine improvements, not only in safety at football grounds, but also in the life of a community which, in the aftermath of such a disaster, can sometimes learn to know its own unity, and strength.