The Hexagon and An Audience with Harry Redknapp logo

The Hexagon, Reading

An Audience with Harry Redknapp

Harry was established in 1947, a couple of years after the Second World War, suggesting Henry and Violet Redknapp were really bloody pleased to have beaten the Germans, and confident enough that they didn't need to raise an army of their own since Harry was their only product.

Exterior of The Hexagon theatre in Reading
One brutal looking hexagon.

His prolific football playing career saw him notch a whopping 14 goals in 316 games, an average still better than Danny Welbeck's. The crowning achievement of his playing career would have been the single appearance for Brentford in the 1976/77 season.

A career in football management followed to much success and nobody could ever forget the 1999 UEFA Intertoto Cup triumph with boyhood club West Ham United, which is still their most recent piece of silverware since playoff final trophies definitely don't count and this does.

He then did nothing of note until he picked up the biggest piece of silverware of his career, taking home the crown in the 2018 series of 'I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!', an achievement made more astounding given he wasn't allowed to take his adopted son (Niko Krancjar) with him.

Exterior of The Hexagon theatre in Reading
This garden exists, for some reason.

My visit

I wasn't planning on going to a game this week as I'd spent the Tuesday night at home watching the England vs. Kosovo game with a few glasses of squash. It was an entertaining game and an advert for why VAR exists now, because they got pretty much every decision wrong. I also bet £10,000 on England winning 7-3, so I was really bloody annoyed.

Even so, I had tickets to 'An Audience with Harry Redknapp' on Wednesday, so out I went. With the future of the theatre uncertain, I was well up for it, especially with a 7:30 kick-off and it being fairly local.

I spent the afternoon engrossed in 9/11 conspiracy theories, learning more about brutalist architecture, and wondering just why my sister thought these tickets would make a great birthday present for me and my dad*. I also watched some YouTube videos, because this information is essential to you, before having dinner and leaving around 6:15. This seemed staggeringly early considering the event started at 7:30, rush hour traffic had long since subsided and we only live 20 minutes away from Reading's town centre.

As we got there predictably early, we were able to soak up some of the pre-game atmosphere, by enjoying an expensive pint at the theatre's bar. £5? That's way more expensive than Tottenham Hotspur Stadium!

It was the host who started on the front foot, taking a survey of pretty much everyone in the crowd's favourite team. A thoroughly tedious affair (what is this? A pantomime?) and also a sad indicator that apparently people in the south east of England now support Manchester City.

Inside The Hexagon Theatre in Reading
All these people got here ridiculously early too.

Once Harry Redknapp was introduced things took a turn for the better. We were treated to a footballing history lesson, highlighted by a good story about Neil Ruddock being fined two weeks wages at West Ham.

He refused to pay the £20,000 (in case you wondered how much a limited footballer was earning back 20 years ago) and took the club to the FA to appeal. Got the help of a top lawyer from South Africa  to help him avoid the fine and then had to pay £40,000 in legal fees himself so lost out anyway. I'm sure that was worth every penny.

There was also the wonderful spectacle of making light out of one man's serious gambling addiction and a welcome mention of "one of the top players in the world", Paulo Futre (whatever you say, Harry) to bring the first half to a close.

The half time entertainment involved a series of auctions where some guy decided spending nearly £1000 on a signed and framed Lionel Messi shirt was a good investment.

The second half started slower and built steadily towards the final conclusion (and the reason why there were way more women in the audience than you'd have thought), stories from the jungle. But first we were able to get the pleasing confirmation that yes, Benjani really was a bit crap.

With the promised post-show Q&A session mysteriously forgotten about and Harry presumably wanting to get back home to Sandra, the majority of the 1,000 or so crowd went home disappointed. We left at 9:45 and my dad dropped me off at home at about 10:15. I got to bed fairly quickly, binge watching episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air on Netflix before going to sleep at 3:00am. Much later than I would have liked but, hang on, why would anyone ever need to know this?

The auditorium inside The Hexagon theatre in Reading
A view down towards the playing surface from the upper tier.

The ground

The Hexagon is a decent venue for minor league theatre, but one that has seen better days. It's fully covered because it's not Shakespeare's Globe and nobody wants to sit outside for a bloody pantomime.
It was built back in the 1970s when architects thought large, concrete buildings were a great idea and definitely not going to look terrible in the future. The original design featured a proscenium but no fly tower and I have literally no idea what any of that means.

There is an all-seater capacity of 1,200. The seating itself is fine, kind of like the ones you used to have in the Showcase Cinema before they replaced them with the recliners so people could sleep through the crap movies.

The venue hasn't really changed that much since my last visit back in the nineties where I saw Jet from Gladiators fight off Captain Hook with a pugil stick, in what was a very loose interpretation of Peter Pan.

It's still well worth a visit though. There's a large bar inside, serving all your favourite brand alcoholic beverages but at prices that'll make you feel like you should have just gone to the West End. But there's a decent German pub right outside and an inexplicably popular sushi restaurant if you'd rather pre-drink and eat somewhere else.

* It was a thoroughly amusing and entertaining show and I recommend it to any football fan. Harry Redknapp is perfect for this type of gig.

Useless information about The Hexagon

Address: Queen Walk, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 7UA
Capacity: 1,686
Pitch Type: What are stages made of?
Ticket Price: £32 (Balcony)
Programme: There was one, but buying it seemed unnecessary