Guest blogger: Jamie Bowman on Miles Jupp
LDP ARTS guest blogger Jamie Bowman went to see Miles Jupp's show Fibber in the Heat - A Cricket Story at the Unity Theatre, Liverpool
BETTER known to adults as Nigel from BBC show Rev and children as The Inventor from Balamory, Miles Jupp's charming one-man-show, Fibber In The Heat tells the true story of Jupp's attempts to con his way onto the England Cricket Team's touring party by posing as a sports journalist.
Armed with a sheet of headed note paper from a friend at BBC Scotland and the vague promise of exclusive access to Cardiff's Simon Jones from a Welsh newspaper, Jupp soon finds himself on a plane to India, only to find out Jones is injured and his contact in Scotland is on long term sick leave.
What follows is a genial and often hilarious journey across the Punjab as Jupp tries to fool both his cricketing heroes and a cynical English press pack, with only his home counties accent and some one else's laminate as weapons.
There is much delight and empathy for cricket fans in Jupp's star struck descriptions of the legends of the game. Commentator Jonathan Agnew asks Jupp to help him carry some of the Test Match Special equipment -"like being asked to drive the A Team van" - while Jupp's teenage obsession with Michael Atherton is movingly recalled through a memorised reeling off of Atherton's often underwhelming statistics and the assertion that the former England captain was the team's "inadvertent shop steward: when he was out everyone was out."
So self deprecating is Jupp's Hugh Grant-esque bumbling that there is much here for even non-cricket lovers to enjoy and much of the material treads a similar path to the one mined by Nick Hornby in the classic Fever Pitch, as Jupp confronts his obsession and realises the folly of turning something he loves into something he does as a job.
The damascene moment comes for Jupp as he realises "that always lying through the official channels" has ensured that he is more of an outsider than any of the fervent Indian fans watching the game from the ramshackle stands rather than the silent and stuffy press box he finds himself in.
It's a heart-warming moment and one that will appeal to anyone still drawn to the Corinthian spirit of sport.