Our first trip to the Old Red Lion theatre was to see Richard D. Sheridan’s ‘Odd Shaped Balls’, produced by the brilliant Plane Paper Theatre, who did an excellent job with their previous work – ‘Don’t Smoke in Bed’ at the Finborough Theatre (Read our review here). This piece concerned a gay professional rugby player coping with being outed by the media. This was a superb follow-up to ‘Don’t Smoke’.
Matthew Marrs stars as an up-and-coming rugby star James Hall and takes us through his experience of the Colts’ promotion, being outed as a result of breaking up with a lover, and dealing with the media onslaught that follows. Playing every single role, Matthew was exceptional at changing between James, his girlfriend, his lover, his coach, his dad, his mum, his team captain, and a bantering Welsh teammate amongst others.
This play showcased brilliantly one actor’s talents, whilst presenting the life of a young male struggling to come to terms with his sexuality. A tough situation to face, especially when outed on someone else’s terms, James was lucky to receive the love and support of his family, teammates, coach and club. However when trying to compete at the top level of professional sports, these issues clearly detracted from his ability to play at his best.
It is a sad state of affairs that the world of top sports is not conducive to openness on these matters and that individuals still suffer from a hostile press. Hopefully plays like this can open up this conversation to create a more tolerant society.
Highlight of the show – Matthew Marrs performance.