How does queerness function in a outwardly heteronormative space, like football? This is the question that November Theatre explores in their production, PITCH. Newcomer Bill, played by Elijah Harris, is thrown in at the deep end at Muddy Stars United, a queer-identifying football team.
Having played for years, Bill has found that he has lost touch with the joy that he previously had playing the beautiful game in his younger years, back when football was simple. Having never grown out of the tomboy identity commonly found on the girls’ team he was a part of at school, Bill wishes to rejoin the sport as an openly trans man. Through his time at Muddy Studs United, Bill finds a community where queerness is not only accepted, but encouraged, and suddenly football feels simple once again.
PITCH is peppered with ecstatically energetic movement sequences that throw the audience into the feisty spirit of the game, and it’s clear to see that the cast love these moments where they get to let loose. Paired with a stellar soundtrack, these additions repeatedly lift the narrative, providing punchy interludes in-between scenes packed with dialogue. The scenes that come either side of these, however, see a drop in energy due to the complex timeline and the relentless flashbacks that confuse the narrative. Alongside some teething issues with the tech, these flashbacks distract from the important, core narrative.
Meg Lewis, playing Clo, is a highlight of the production, and whilst their scenes are thoroughly entertaining, they muddy the question of whose story the audience is supposed to follow. The audio collages played over transition scenes, whilst an informative insight into how real-life football players express their queerness, disrupt the flow of the production and towards the end feel a little overused.
A play with a beautiful goal at the heart, the team at November Theatre have a show on their hands with massive potential. After a month of getting to know the show inside and out, PITCH is sure to be ready for the starting whistle.