You've read the book, watched the documentary, bought the compilation albums containing the classic session tracks, now get the latest John Peel fix with this stage production which made it's world debut at the 2007 Edinburgh Festival, appropriately being performed in an underground sweat pit of a venue.

As the audience took their seats, playing were classic Peel favourites including Orbital's 'Chime' and the Cuban Boys 'Hamster Dance', which Peel played weeks ahead of it capturing the public's imagination and nearly reaching the Christmas number 1 spot. Further favourites and significant songs for the Radio 1 legend appeared throughout the show, T-Rex, Buzzcocks and Captain Beef Heart to name but three.

The play opened with a kid recording a demo to send in to John Peel, in the hope that "you might listen to it when you get back from holiday". (for those who've forgotten Peel died while on holiday in Peru.) The next hour took us on a journey through Peel's working life at Radio 1, focusing on the relationship between him and long-standing producer John Walters and the constant pressure put on Peel from the bosses at the BBC not to be so obscure with his music selections. One moment highlighted was, at the time of the explosion of punk, Peel opened one of his shows with Elvis. His downbeat manner which in his later life would see him appear on grumpy old men, had him described as "punk's version of Eeyore".

The two Johns were the main characters in the story, with a third actor appearing at regular intervals to play extra parts. Along with the kid at the beginning was a brief appearance from Mark Bolen with particular attention played to how Peel felt T-Rex had sold out and subsequently refused to play their music, and an AA man who reminisced about the time he fixed Peel's car and mentioned he preferred 'Perfect Cousin' to 'Teenage Kicks', only for Peel to play it for him a few nights later.

John Peel's obsession with football and Liverpool FC was touched upon throughout the show, words from 'Never Walk Alone' often appeared in the script, with it right at the heart of the climax.

As we reached his death, we were transported to the afterlife accompanied by Handel's 'Zadok the Priest' (which could easily be mistaken for the Champions League Theme). Peel appeared on stage through dry ice, crowned like an angel, wearing white plus his red Liverpool shorts and holding the famous red scarf a loft (upside-down). He was joined, first by Walters and then Mark Bolen, as the unmistakable sound of the Cop belting out 'You'll Never Walk Alone' filled the room. Only the most die-hard of Evertonians or Manchester United fans could fail to appreciate the power in such an ending. Sure I'm biased towards the red half of Merseyside, but there's a reason why commentators stop for the rendition of 'You'll Never Walk Alone' on European Cup nights as if it were 'Land of Hope and Glory' or 'God Save the Queen'.
Watch a clip on Youtube

'Teenage Kicks' was listed by the Guardian in their top ten things to see at this year's Fringe. Although newspaper lists are at best open for debate, and at worst there to be shot down in flames, this was unquestionably one of the stand out events of 2007.

This production was written and directed by Paul Hodson, and is one to keep an eye out for in future months. Even if you wouldn't normally venture into a theatre, make an exception on this occasion.