Vardy v Rooney: The Wagatha Christie Trial stars Lucy May Barker and Coleen star Laura Dos Santos transform into warring WAGs Rebekah and Coleen for the play’s press night
Vardy v Rooney: The Wagatha Christie Trial held its press night in London’s West End on Tuesday evening.
Stars Lucy May Barker and Laura Dos Santos who play Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney respectively, took their curtain call alongside the rest of the cast after a triumphant debut performance.
Applause! Vardy v Rooney: The Wagatha Christie Trial held it’s press in London’s West End on Tuesday evening
Lucy, who plays a stern-looking Vardy, can be seen in outfits reminiscent of the two-week trial, which ultimately ruled in Rooney’s favour.
She wore her brunette hair slicked back into a low ponytail in typical Rebekah fashion, and opted for a turtle neck and blazer combo previously worn by Vardy.
She was also seen sporting a navy collared dress with button detailing, which was again similar to one Rebekah wore during the trial.
Face off: Lucy May Barker (left) and Laura Dos Santos (right) who play Rebekah Vardy and Coleen Rooney respectively, took their bows alongside the rest of the cast
Bow: The pair stood alongside actors dressed as barristers and a female judge as they beamed looking out onto the audience
The pair stood alongside actors dressed as barristers and a female judge as they beamed looking out onto the audience.
The show made its West End debut on November 15.
Due to popular demand, the show added six more dates to its line-up – after tickets for the original performance sold out in just minutes.
Set: The set resembled a court room but also featured a green floor as a nod to their footballer husbands
Popular: The first tickets for the West End adaptation sold out just minutes after they were released, resulting in six more dates being added to line-up
Seats cost between £67.50 and £32.50 and when they went on sale last month, all 760 spots were taken in minutes.
Due to the high demand, a further six performances have now been confirmed: 22nd and 29th November, 6th, 13th and 20th Dec and 10th January.
From snaps earlier this week both women could be seen taking to the stand to air their side of the story as they are questioned by a judge.
The West End adaptation: The production documents Vardy and Rooney ‘s bitter libel trial, after Coleen accused Rebekah of leaking stories from a private Instagram account to the press
Vardy: Lucy, who plays a stern-looking Vardy, can be seen in outfits reminiscent of the two-week trial, which ultimately ruled in Rooney’s favour
On stage: While Lucy stars as Rebekah and Laura plays Coleen, Jonathan Broadbent plays Hugh Tomlinson QC, while Tom Turner stars as David Sherborne, barrister
Meanwhile, Laura as Colleen opted for a neutral look, complete with a cream blazer and matching suit trousers, beige top and a pair of hooped earrings.
In another shot, Laura could be seen wearing a black and white dress resembling that seen during trial, while she also wore a moon-boot – which Coleen wore after breaking her foot.
Tickets for the extra dates are now on sale, with the show produced by Eleanor Lloyd, who is also behind the staging of Agatha Christie’s Witness For The Prosecution in London County Hall.
Seeing double? Meanwhile, Laura opted for a neutral look, complete with a cream blazer and matching suit trousers, beige top and a pair of hooped earrings
Trying times: Both women could be seen taking to the stand to air their side of the story as they are questioned by a judge
Outfit: In another shot, Laura could be seen wearing dress resembling one of Coleen’s, while she also wore a moon-boot – which Coleen wore to court after breaking her foot
Out now! The show made its West End debut on November 15
Recreation: One shot showed Laura Dos Santos as Coleen Rooney as they recreated a courtroom scene
More shows: Due to the high demand, a further six performances have now been confirmed: 22nd and 29th November, 6th, 13th and 20th Dec and 10th January
Hit show: Seats cost between £67.50 and £32.50 and when they went on sale last month, all 760 spots were taken in minutes
Wagatha Christie: Due to popular demand, the show added six more dates to its line-up – after tickets for the original performance sold out in just minutes
Available now: Tickets for the extra dates are now on sale, with the show produced by Eleanor Lloyd, who is also behind the staging of Agatha Christie’s Witness For The Prosecution in London County Hall
Dialogue will be taken from High Court transcripts of the week-long trial – in which Rebekah, 40, lost to Coleen, 36, – so that the play can be staged ‘word for word’.
The role of Rebekah will be played by Lucy May Barker, who is known for her performance in the West End production of Mamma Mia! at Pine Hampstead Theatre.
While stage star Laura Dos Santos, who is known for Yes So I Said Yes, Finborough Theatre and My White Best Friend, Liverpool Everyman, will portray Coleen.
They will be joined by Jonathan Broadbent as Hugh Tomlinson QC, and Nathan McMullen (known fo E4’s Misfits) and Sharan Phull, who will both be playing multiple roles including Wayne Rooney, Jamie Vardy and Harpreet Robertson.
The play will be directed by Lisa Spirling, adapted from seven days of High Court transcripts by Liv Hennessy.
Producer Eleanor previously said: ‘The way the trial gripped the nation demonstrated how well this story would translate to the stage; the twists and turns were so intriguing you couldn’t write it.’
Cast: They will be joined by Jonathan Broadbent as Hugh Tomlinson QC, and Nathan McMullen (known fo E4’s Misfits) and Sharan Phull, who will both be playing multiple roles including Wayne Rooney, Jamie Vardy and Harpreet Robertson
Former friends Rebekah and Coleen first publicly fell out in 2019 when the latter accused Rebekah of leaking posts from her private Instagram account to The Sun.
Her rigorous sleuthing to find the culprit earned her the title Wagatha Christie in reference to mystery writer Agatha Christie.
Rebekah denied the claims and sued for libel, but lost in the High Court in July where her evidence was deemed ‘manifestly inconsistent’ and ‘not credible’.
Accusation: Rooney famously posted on Instagram accusing Vardy of leaking stories to The Sun newspaper following her own months-long ‘sting operation’
Coming soon! It comes after first look images from the TV show were released which is called Vardy v Rooney: A Courtroom Drama
Earlier this year she was ordered to pay 90 per cent of Coleen’s legal bills with the first £800,000 needing to be paid within six weeks.
The former Dancing on Ice contestant also has to foot her own lawyers’ bills, meaning the enormous cost of her failed libel claim is around £4million.
Rebekah reportedly faces an estimated £1.5million legal bill towards her costs following their ‘Wagatha Christie’ High Court libel battle.
The WAG – whose reputation is in tatters after she scored one of the worst own goals in British legal history – is thought to have to find £800,000 of it in weeks.
Wagatha Christie… live on stage! Forget The Mousetrap – the West End’s must-see new show is inspired by the trial that gripped the country… and, says JANE FRYER, with every word lifted from the court case, it’s a hoot from start to finish
Sometimes, with even the juiciest, most idiotically entertaining and dazzlingly daft story, there’s a danger of telling it too many times, in too many ways. Over-egg the pudding and all the zest is lost.
But this is very much not the case when it comes to the £3 million Rebekah Vardy v Coleen Rooney Wagatha Christie Libel Trial of Epic Silliness that raged for a week in the Royal Courts of Justice, in May.
Back then, it was a fiesta of fake tan and fury that gave us thousands of pounds of designer finery, some truly appalling language, an astonishing insight into the mad, bad, wonderful world of Wags, and seared images of poor Peter Andre’s allegedly chipolata-sized modesty on to our brains for ever.
It grabbed us, perked us, cheered us, added new phrases into our daily lexicon (the Scouse Trap, Wagatha Christie, a tale of Skulwaggery), divided us into #teamrooney and #teamvardy, and left us wanting more, more, more.
Rebekah Vardy (pictured) is played brilliantly by Lucy May Barker — ‘straight-backed, boot-faced, designer sunglasses glued to her face and hair parted more severely than Frida Kahlo’
Particularly for those who, unlike me, were not lucky enough to watch from the ringside as proceedings unfolded in court.
So, yes, there are two documentaries about the whole thing in the making. And yes, a two-part dramatisation is coming out on Channel 4 later this year starring Michael Sheen as Coleen’s barrister David Sherborne.
Oh no, I am not forgetting that, just this week, Vardy has made new incendiary allegations that she was framed.
Quite simply, we can’t get enough of it all.
Which is why it comes as no surprise to find London’s Wyndham’s Theatre packed to the rafters for what has been billed as a 90-minute football-themed theatrical retelling of the greatest Wag-off of all time.
The set is a mash-up of court room and football pitch — genius! — with two pundits on hand to explain the (not very knotty) points of law.
On one side is Rebekah (played brilliantly by Lucy May Barker) — straight-backed, boot-faced, designer sunglasses glued to her face and hair parted more severely than Frida Kahlo.
Across the stage is Laura Dos Santos’s Coleen — diminutive, but firm, in her disappointing High-Street dress, single Gucci loafer and trusty Aircast boot, with Wayne looking catatonic beside her.
Strutting about like preening peacocks are, for Coleen, David Sherborne, barrister to the stars (including Hugh Grant and, briefly, the Duchess of Sussex), and, for Rebekah (though he had advised her very firmly to settle) Hugh Tomlinson, a previous favourite of former Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich.
It comes as no surprise to find London’s Wyndham’s Theatre packed to the rafters for what has been billed as a 90-minute football-themed theatrical retelling of the greatest Wag-off of all time
Mrs Justice Steyn, meanwhile, is holding the gavel and looking as though she’d far rather be wrestling over some complicated Saudi arms deal. Or, at the very least, not having to hear about the dimensions of poor Peter’s pecker or get to grips with the various mechanisms of Instagram — bless her, she did really try.
Which is perhaps my cue to fill in a few blanks. Because, while it’s hard to imagine anyone who is not 100 per cent au fait with every twist in the Wagatha saga, just before the show in the theatre bar, I meet Shannon, a music teacher from Canada, who proudly tells me she has no idea what all the fuss is about.
‘I make a point of never reading celebrity gossip,’ she says crisply. ‘But this sounded funny, so I came along.’
For the benefit of Shannon, then, here’s a very quick resumé.
It all started back in 2019 when Coleen was Queen of Wags, which Rebekah desperately wanted to be, and — from her throne — Coleen didn’t much like the look of the stories that kept popping up in The Sun newspaper about her personal life.
Then Queen C spotted something: all the information was coming from her private social media account — nuggets of her life she’d entrusted exclusively to her inner Wag circle, including Rebekah. And so, with her sights set firmly on Vardy — she had previous form on leaking to the Press — Coleen conducted a brilliant sting operation in which she composed posts revealing fake personal information that only Vardy would see.
Laura Dos Santos plays Coleen Rooney (pictured with husband Wayne) — ‘diminutive, but firm, in her disappointing High-Street dress, single Gucci loafer and trusty Aircast boot, with Wayne looking catatonic beside her’
As the sun rose each day and related articles appeared in The Sun, Coleen doggedly saved and screenshot the evidence to which only one other Instagram account had access.
And then on October 9, 2019 — and in a move worthy of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot (hence ‘Wagatha Christie’), she shared her genius with the world, posting to Instagram and Twitter, and finishing with the great reveal: ‘It’s . . . Rebekah Vardy’s account.’
Naturally, Rebekah, who was seven months pregnant and on holiday in Dubai at the time, denied everything. And, in June 2020, began libel proceedings against Rooney.
Two years, an awful lot of media coverage and several million pounds in legal fees later, the whole sorry business ended up in court — where I was lucky enough to watch and write up match reports for the Mail.
Back here in Wyndham’s Theatre and this is very much the match highlights: all the golden nuggets; the gasp-out-loud and the OMG-did-she-just-say-that moments.
And it’s just brilliant. Better still, it’s all real. Because this play — adapted by Liv Hennessy and directed by Lisa Spirling — contains nothing but genuine dialogue.
It’s all verbatim — lifted word for word from thousands of pages of court transcripts. They really did say all this stuff, Shannon!
Anyone can now witness the best bits of Sherborne’s brilliant cross-examination of Vardy.
Or every time she lied and denied and sighed. Or when her expletive- ridden WhatsApp messages to her PR Caroline Watt would repeatedly smack her in the face: ‘what a ****!’
Meanwhile, Wayne sits solid as a baked potato — staring into space as he learns what his wife has been up to for the past three years while he’s been passing out naked in hotel rooms.
It’s all here. Even down to Sherborne’s reference to Wyatt’s mobile being buried at the bottom of the sea in ‘Davy Jones’s locker’ and Rebekah’s ludicrous remarks comparing Coleen to a ‘pigeon that s***s in your hair’.
And lapping up every word is the friskiest, most excitable audience imaginable. Grasping white wines, proseccos, gin and tonics, or each other hands, everyone cheers and gasps, whoops and hurrahs.
‘I’m not normally into laughing at people’s misfortunes,’ says Tessa, a mature student from East Sussex. ‘But I followed the trial and I wanted to see it in all its glory.’
Adding to the excitement is the presence of the real David Sherborne — sat behind me in deeply tanned splendour (and a rather tight suit) in the Royal Circle, surrounded by a huge entourage, watching himself look brilliantly clever on stage. (And, quite possibly, wondering why actor Tom Turner is looking so disappointingly pasty-skinned).
Of course, a few things are missing from the original. About ten inches off Wayne’s waist, for starters, though Nathan McMullen who plays him is the perfect mix of brilliantly bewildered and surprisingly articulate when it comes to his moment in the box. There were more tears in the real thing, too — mostly from Rebekah who, towards the end of her gruelling cross-examination, lay head in hands and wept in despair.
Also missing is the real Hugh Tomlinson KC. However much I craned, I couldn’t see the old Rottweiler anywhere in the audience — presumably he’s back in his comfort zone dealing with oligarchs.
No sign, either, of Coleen or Rebekah. Or Peter Andre, for that matter.
But perhaps most lacking is the spectacular level of gloss and glamour that only true Wags seem able to achieve.
There are sadly no £2,000 lemon-meringue Alessandra Rich suits or Chanel jackets. No expensively balayaged hair. And not nearly enough contouring, designer bags, fake tan and cosmetic enhancements.
But forget that. Because these are mere trifles — and not enough to bother this fizzing crowd, who leap to their feet at the end.
Who knows quite why this sorry saga has entertained us so richly. Perhaps it’s because we’re British and it appeals to our brilliantly niche sense of humour. Or because everything else in the world is so unutterably awful right now that we need some light relief.
Whatever the reason, such is the continued demand for all things Wagatha that the producers have extended the show’s run.
My firm advice would be to do everything in your power to get a ticket.
Tickets for the West End show are now available at www.wagathaplay.com
Wagatha Christie timeline: How Coleen and Rebekah’s war unfolded
September 2017 to October 2019 – The Sun runs a number of articles about Coleen, including that she travelled to Mexico to look into baby ‘gender selection’ treatment, her plan to revive her TV career and the flooding of her basement.
October 9, 2019 – Coleen uses social media to accuse Rebekah of selling stories from her private Instagram account to the tabloids. It prompts #WagathaChristie to start trending.
February 13, 2020 – In a tearful appearance on ITV’s Loose Women, Rebekah says the stress of the dispute caused her to have severe anxiety attacks and she ‘ended up in hospital three times’.
June 23, 2020 – It emerges that Rebekah has launched libel proceedings against Coleen.
November 19-20, 2020 – The libel battle has its first High Court hearing in London. A judge rules that Coleen’s October 2019 post ‘clearly identified’ Rebekah as being ‘guilty of the serious and consistent breach of trust’.
Mr Justice Warby concludes that the ‘natural and ordinary’ meaning of the posts was that Rebekah had ‘regularly and frequently abused her status as a trusted follower of Coleen’s personal Instagram account by secretly informing The Sun of Coleen’s private posts and stories’.
February 8-9, 2022 – A series of explosive messages between Rebekah and her agent Caroline Watt – which Coleen’s lawyers allege were about her – are revealed at a preliminary court hearing.
Coleen’s lawyers seek further information from the WhatsApp messages, but the court is told that Ms Watt’s phone fell into the North Sea after a boat she was on hit a wave, before further information could be extracted from it.
February 14 – Coleen is refused permission to bring a High Court claim against Ms Watt for misuse of private information to be heard alongside the libel battle. A High Court judge, Mrs Justice Steyn, says the bid was brought too late and previous opportunities to make the claim had not been taken.
April 13 – Ms Watt is not fit to give oral evidence at the upcoming libel trial, the High Court is told as the case returns for another hearing.
May 10 onwards – The trial began
July 29 – Rebekah Vardy lost her defamation case against Coleen Rooney, the judge ruled Mrs Rooney’s accusation was ‘substantially true’.