“Kiss The Badge, Fly The Flag!”- a funny and enlightening show about football, identity and race comes to London.
The show looks at multi-cultural Englishness through our attitudes to the symbols of the national team.
It's the Euro 2012 finals and black comedian Paul Ricketts supports the country of his birth, but feels uncomfortable in the England football shirt or waving the flag of St George – why?
Could it be David Cameron's announcement that 'Multiculturalism is dead', the Luis Suarez and John Terry racist accusations or the weird pronouncements of FIFA Boss Sepp Blatter?
“Kiss The Badge, Fly The Flag!” features jokes, anecdotes and filmed encounters with the BNP, Billy Bragg and the national press.
It also features interviews with teenagers and celebrities – such as comedians Stephen K. Amos, Richard Blackwood, Shazia Mirza, Andi Osho and actor Adrian Lester.
This is an invitation to laugh, lie back and think of England.
In a joke about John Terry racist accusations, Paul says: “While I believe John Terry must be considered innocent until proven guilty, I, like Anton Ferdinand would refuse to shake his hand, but I would at least salute him.”
“Kiss The Badge, Fly The Flag!” premiered in Edinburgh in 2010. It was well received, getting a 'Must See' Award from The Stage, 5 stars from Remotegoat.co.uk and 4 stars from Three Weeks.
Since then Paul has performed the show at The Courtyard Theatre, London, plus subsequent performances in several London schools. Last October he performed it as part of the University of Cambridge, 'Festival of Ideas'.
Paul says he has had to re-appraise many of the conclusions he made in 2010 – such as his mistaken belief that racism had been greatly “eradicated” from English football – both on the pitch and the terraces.
“I think the way football shapes national identity is an important issue especially after the many notable events of the last 18 months. I consider 'Kiss The Badge, Fly The Flag!' like supporting England, to be a labour of love. I initially had difficulties putting it together over eight months,” Paul says.
Some of the difficulties he faced included almost gaining and then failing to get sponsorship from Umbro (England Shirt Manufacturers).
Paul’s show blog website was removed just before his first night after complaints of ‘spamming’ from far right bloggers.
“Kiss The Badge, Fly The Flag!” by Paul Ricketts
Venue: Leicester Square Theatre, 6 Leicester Place, London WC2H 7BX
Time: 4pm (1 hour)
Dates: 3rd, 16th & 23rd June 2012
Box Office 08448 733433
Email: [email protected]