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By Neil Baldwin and Malcolm Clarke

Adapted for stage by Neil Baldwin and Theresa Heskins

Directed by Theresa Heskins

Review by David Bithell – A View To A Kiln / Radio Kiln

Following on from the success of the BAFTA winning film in 2014 and the book by Peter Bowker, Marvellous has been made for the stage by the wonderful Theresa Heskins.

Following years of “You should do a play about Nello”, Theresa met Nello a few times and was properly introduced by Malcolm Clarke, Neil’s long standing friend from his Keele University days. She approached Nello and he agreed by replying “well there’s a film and book out about me, so its about time there was a play, and I would like Michael Hugo to play me”.

Michael Hugo as Nello, Gareth Cassidy as Lou Macari. Photo: Andrew Billington

The play takes you on the Marvellous life of Neil starting with the early years in Chesterton, from his mum and dad going to Stoke City football matches, and Neil being named after Stoke City striker Neil Franklin who Nello would instantly tell you played a 142 times for Stoke City. He was a mascot at Stoke, and after telling his mum Mary he was one day going to be manager of Stoke City. He seized his opportunity but lost out to none other than the great manager, Lou Macari.

Nello didn’t stop there, the day of the press conference, he waited all day in the rain to meet Lou, and offer his services, Lou finally succumbs to Neil’s direct charm and offers his the kit managers job. It became a match made in heaven. Lou was later asked who the best ever signing he made for Stoke City, he said “Nello”.

There are 7 wonderful actors, playing the part of Newcastle under Lyme’s golden child including of course, the New Vic’s favourite Michael Hugo. You could ask anyone from these parts who Neil Baldwin is, and they simply reply “everyone knows Nello”. That is because of the nature of this man, a man who lives his life not only in an opportunistic way, but you get the feeling of warmth from the moment you meet him.

Michael Hugo and Suzanne Ahmet as Mary. Photo: Andrew Billington

This feel good, “Marvellous” play is beautifully put together by Theresa Heskins with the help of Neil of course.

This is definitely one not to be missed, and you might even get a glimpse of the man himself, as he attends every show, especially this one, all about his wonderful life.

You will leave the theatre, warm, fuzzy and blessed to have witnessed this fantastic story.

You can catch Marvellous at The New Vic Theatre, until Saturday April 9th 2022.

Alex Frost, Daniel Murphy, Gareth Cassidy, Real Neil (Michael Hugo), Suzanne Ahmet, Charlie Bence and Jerome Marsh-Reid. Photo: Andrew Billington

For tickets please visit or alternatively contact the box office on 01782 717 962.

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