Photo credit Bernadette Baksa(3 / 5)
When someone said to me to watch a play about Football, I did an audible groan.
I like football (not as much as rugby) but what could a play about Football really draw upon (let’s ignore Bend it like Beckham a sec…)
Stud, by Paloma Oakenfold, is not just about Football. Stud sees the current state of the sport and its homophobia in a society and world that is ever increasingly adjusting and accepting of LGBTQ+ communities. We are forever moving forward, yet in 2018, we are still going backwards in sport. Not only with homophobia but racism and sexism.
Stud sees a fantastic player, who has the whole world ahead of him, realise his sexuality, fall in love and yet make a real life changing decision which means either hiding who he really is or losing everything. There is a large essence of family and that union which also preys upon this big decision.
Stud only has two performers – Tom who is a constant. His life is the story and so it is imperative we always see him on stage, his emotions moving and how he continues life. The performer does this well and he plays a boy at a teenage age very well – all the moody, confusion that comes with teen life, with the addition of sexual confusion.
His Dad/Coach/Love/miscellaneous characters chop and change with the other performer, all becoming very hammed up and comical, all apart from his love interest. While he does all of this in a brilliant way, I am not sure this works. Okay, it brings plenty of laughs and maybe we need that but to me it almost turned into a way of laughing at the conundrum Tom is going through and showing his love is all that matters. Which we soon find out is not the case – love, family and being yourself are all important and I feel that with these cartoonish characters, a little of the heartfelt emotion is lost.
I did however love the modernisation of the stage. The floor is astro-turf, the changing room seat is there, and all utilised no matter what the scene is. The music is camp and upbeat, also utilising the lighting and tech. And it suddenly gives a new dynamic to the duologues.
Stud is good fun, and while it tries its hardest to be everything, it struggles to merge the comedy and the serious.