How football, and sport in general, intersects with queerness and gender has never been so prevalent as it is now. Whether that is players demanding better treatment and pay in the women’s game or the public outcry of Jordan Henderson moving to Saudi Arabia after becoming a self-titled ally, or the exiling of trans athletes from the world stage. Pitch, a play about a grassroots London queer team by the November Theatre, couldn’t have come along at a better time. But it is more of a light tap in than a screamer.
Pitch follows the players of the Muddy Studs five-a-side team through their training sessions, their pub quizzes and matches. Through flashback scenes we get to know how each character becomes a part of the squad while also seeing them in training for their big match against the Holloway Harriers. For a play about the beautiful game, it all feels a little low stakes with no real dramatic tension or originality aside from Elijah W Harris’ tender portrayal of Bill's journey through gender and football fandom.
Highlighting its currentness, Pitch intersperses the hour with sections where the characters lip-sync to real-life interviews that tackle subjects like homophobia and gender in sport, including clips from this year’s Women’s World Cup. The cast’s crazed expressions when lip-syncing are a strange direction and takes you away from the big questions the clips raise.
More successful is the set-design which sees school benches take on multiple uses, and the dance scenes to football classics like ‘Freed from Desire’. There is much potential with the young theatre company behind Pitch but it could do with some more workshopping.