Sunday, 08 September 2013 00:00

Dixie McNeil Plays Again

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dixie2A play about the glory years of Wrexham Football Club, will be staged at Llangollen Town Hall on September 18th and 19th. The play is written by Peter Read, himself a life long Wrexham fan.

Set in season 77-78 when Wrexham won the  Third Division championship and the Welsh Cup, Peter was inspired to write Dixie or Me after hearing two stories. A friend of his was  told by his wife he had to decide whom he loved the most. Was it Wrexham or was it her? The friend decided to stay with the wife and abandoned watching football. They are now divorced.

The other story was of a vicar who used to pray every week from the pulpit, that God would help Wrexham beat whoever they were playing the following week. From these two incidents Peter created the fictional characters of Dave and his friend Vicar Joe.

In the play, football loving Dave is married to football hating Holly. Tired of his sneaking off, without telling her, to places as far away as Plymouth to watch Wrexham, she gives him the summons. “Who do you love the most? Dixie or Me?”

Dave is supported by Vicar Joe, himself in trouble with his Bishop for refusing to marry a couple because the groom supported arch rivals Chester.

Dixie or Me! was first performed at the Stiwt Theatre in 2005 and in the past eight years has been re written three times. In 2006, 7 and 8 it was performed as Toshack or Me at the Grand Theatre Swansea, about the Swans’81-2 season when they won promotion to the First Division. In 2008 the play was re written again, this time as Shearer or Me, and performed at the Thwaites Empire Theatre about the Blackburn Rovers Premiership winning team of 94-5.That production won the NODA Award for the best stage production of 2008. The play has been revised for its second run as Dixie or Me.

Although he has written  about other topics, football has been a major element of Peter’s professional writing career. He has also written To Hull and Back, a play about Swansea needing to beat Hull City to stay in the Football League and Wemberlee, Wemberlee about their Play Off success at Wembley in 2011.

In addition, he has ghost written the life stories of Everton manager, Roberto Martinez, Swansea’s player Garry Monk and Dixie McNeil. He is happy to be living back in Wrexham so that he can see the boys play most Saturdays at the Racecourse.

Dixie or Me!  will be performed by Limelight Theatre Company, on Wednesday 18th  and 19th September at Llangollen Town Hall 7.30pm.Tickets £8 and £6.50 concessions. Tickets 01978 351315/07504 031029 or pay on the door.