Star rating: ****
Islington, London N1
Sunday 17th May 2015
Director and Writers – Alex and Toby Clarke, Sketty Theatre
Ichiro is living far from home in rainy England, where the only language he understands is football. Jamael is struggling to focus on training while caring for his little sister. Ashley trains six days a week and his girlfriend wants him to spend Sundays with her. Titch sits alone in the changing room long after the floodlights have been switched off. Their coach thinks he knows it all. The team’s psychologist knows he has a lot to learn.
Six talented young footballers face their final months in a youth training academy, all with the same question weighing on their mind – who will get a contract?
Result is a powerful new play that explores the emotion behind every kick; a world in which dreams are built or destroyed in ninety minutes. A world in which the score means everything and failure is not an option. Where physical strength is celebrated but mental health is often ignored.
Inspired by the career of a sports psychologist, Sketty Theatre crosses raw text and striking movement with an original score to explore the cut-throat passion, raucous camaraderie and frightening pressures of the beautiful game.
Result ran at the Pleasance Theatre, Islington 21st April – 17th May 2015.
Result is a super little play about the hopes and dreams of the players in a football team training and playing to be selected to make it as a professional. We follow the players through matches, tough training sessions and even harder post match rollicking (there was another word I could use, but ladies may be reading this!) from the sweary, foul mouthed coach Carl, (played by Cameron Jack).
Result wasn’t just about the football though. What made this a little different from the traditional story about up and coming footballers, or aspirants in any sport or field of work, was that this play focused on the mental side of the game and the mental toughness required to complement the required physical strength, ability and skill to make it in the game. Mark (played by Richard James-Clarke) , a sports psychologist was hired by the club to work on that side of things. He knew nothing about football at all, which was fine to an extent, as he had other sports experience to draw on. This actually allowed for some good jokes to be dropped at his expense.
As you might imagine a group of young footballers and a world weary coach were hardly going to be over eager to listen to what a clueless about football psychologist had to say. Tension around this created for interesting, gripping and amusing drama as we observe the interplay between all the characters.
The performances were superb and they made the absolute best of the limited space provided by the small Pleasance Theatre stage. The physicality was great, especially the “pass the parcel” type scenes, the matches and the spicy dialogue and banter flying around kept things lively and interesting.
The finale was particularly emotional and touching as we get to find out who gets offered a contract and who misses out. There was a surprising twist in the tale too.
The performance I saw was the final one in ‘Result’s 4 week residency. If you pardon the puns, it was a result to see this wonderful play and I would have kicked myself for missing it. I hope it goes on tour and others get to see it around the country as the issue of mental health in sport, in society in general, is one that needs addressing and young people and those engaged in sport can get overlooked as physically all seems to be OK. That doesn’t mean everything is OK in their mind’s though.
Review © Tiemo Talk of the Town
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