"Conflict in sport, celebrity, sexuality"
by Rachel Knightley for remotegoat on 09/06/16

This no-nonsense, character-packed one-act comedy creates well-realised private and public worlds for Jim Hall (Matthew Marrs) and the many colleagues, friends, family, lovers and press in his life (also Matthew Marrs). The baffled but well-meaning young player can’t tell his girlfriend he’s fallen for a man; boss Aiden tells him to get rid of whatever distractions are holding him back on the pitch, unaware that Jim’s affair is a symptom of struggling with his sexuality. With more honesty than tact, Jim breaks up with his secret lover “because you boss has told you to” – then finds himself outed on twitter.

Marrs is a delight to spend an hour with, visually and emotionally involved in each character with consistent focus and energy. He copes very well with the speed and depth each character change demands. Not a line is wasted in this fast, economical comedy, with every moment adding detail to Jim’s personal world and the wider world of rugby. However, the sheer number of shifts is a big ask. Some changes did dilute character, and the interchangeable vocal quality of Clare and Dom grates, before and after the reveal that Dom is male and the dilemma is more complex than the one we’re meant to have thought.

Set designer Luke W. Robson combines pub, locker room and a downstage pitch, filling each with visual information that contributed to our sense of the life of the characters and their club. It is an interesting choice to set so unnaturalistically styled a script in such a detailed set, but Marrs’ conviction and energy ensured any stylistic conflict was forgotten by an audience who were as involved as he was.

Jim’s well-meaningness and discomfort with speaking in depth to cameras and lovers is established with wit and clarity. Beginning and ending with an accidental on-screen swearword by a man who’d rather be on the pitch doing what he loves and is good at than talking to a microphone about it, Jim remains believable, sympathetically flawed and clearly the same man at the end of the play and the scandal as he was before them. This is an unfussy, un-self-indulgent demonstration of where sport and society need to be heading. It’s hysterically funny, psychologically real, respects and deserves its audience.

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