Football Fever Delays Curtain Rise: Corden and Audience Share Penalty Drama at The Constituent

A nail-biting Euro 2024 penalty shootout turned London’s Old Vic theatre into a shared experience unlike any other.

Just as the curtain was about to rise on “The Constituent,” a political drama starring James Corden and Anna Maxwell Martin, England’s footballers were locked in a tense penalty shootout against Switzerland in the Euros quarter-finals.

iDominick, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The tension crackled not just on the pitch in Düsseldorf, but also within the historic theatre walls.Audience members were glued to their phones, and the cast, including Corden, were watching the game anxiously in the rehearsal room with a makeshift screen.

A spontaneous decision was made. The play’s opening scene would have to wait.Corden, Martin, and their co-star Zachary Hart emerged onto the stage, iPad in hand, to provide a running commentary for the penalty shootout.

“It was a glorious collective experience,” Corden later said, describing it as one of his favorite moments ever.The audience, phones streaming at slightly different paces, erupted in cheers that rippled through the theatre with each successful penalty. Corden’s charm and audience engagement kept the atmosphere lively.

The 10-minute delay didn’t dampen spirits. The Guardian’s review of “The Constituent” called it a play with “great funny lines” that delves into “darker psychological territory.” Corden, a West Ham fan who’d missed most of the Euros due to rehearsals, assured fans they’d “catch the end” of England’s upcoming semi-final against the Netherlands, even if it meant a slightly later curtain rise. England’s success, he declared, was an “unbelievable achievement,” and he firmly believes “this team are incredible” and capable of winning the entire tournament.


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