Imagine being former Geelong football star Billy Brownless: you are a club legend, have a wonderful marriage and children, and a booming media career where you are working with your best friend. However, life did not stay perfect for Brownless, and More Than a Game: The Unauthorized Footy Show Musical chronicles the drama that has befallen Brownless over the last few years.

Using Billy Brownless’ tell-all interview about his marriage breakdown to Nicky as a template, More Than a Game uses some creative licence to musically cover some of the key points in Brownless’ life, from his rise as a footballer, meeting Nicky, and his friendship with Garry Lyon, his Footy Show colleague and the man who ultimately began a relationship with Nicky after their separation. The show uses a live band for the musical numbers, comically detailing the rise, and somewhat fall, of Brownless’ life, marriage, and friendship with Lyon, over his thirty-plus year career.

More Than a Game manages to squeeze both a live band side of stage and theatre performance at the front of The Jade, no mean feat considering the fairly small size of the venue. Having the band allows for some comic moments between themselves and the actors, and creates a sonic and performance backdrop that would’ve been missing if the music was pre-recorded.

The writers/performers of More Than a Game have cleverly created a show that mines both the comedy and pathos from a story the audience is more than likely to be familiar with. The acting and vocal performances are fantastic, with the performers obviously enjoying playing up the personas of the figures they are imitating. It comes across that there is respect and affection for Brownless especially, despite the fact the comedy is often at his expense.

If you have followed the saga of Brownless and Lyon it’s great fun to follow the drama of their story as it pops up as plot points throughout the show. However, the great thing about More Than a Game: The Unauthorized Footy Show Musical is that all the key points are covered so there is no need for any prior knowledge. This show is just so entertaining and funny that you should definitely make this one to catch before the end of The Fringe. 

5 stars

More Than a Game: The Unauthorized Footy Show Musical runs until Sunday 21 March. Buy tickets HERE.

By Tania Nicholas