A headphone piece looking at the team dynamics of a (possibly Olympic?) water polo team. Intimate and unusual and not for those who like to sit in the dark and slowly ruminate during their theatre experience.
12 people stand queuing in the rain outside yet another Latitude show, telling hopeful latecomers that they are unlikely to make it in to see the small-scale headphone performance. Little do we poncho-clad few know that we are soon to be turned into a professional water polo playing team.
Ushered into the best replica of a swimming pool changing room the company could muster in a damp Latitude marquee, we are told to sit down by our brusque Scots coach and are immediately launched into a pre-match pep talk. We shout back at him that passing the ball is definitely the best way to win, and that winning is undoubtedly also the best way to win, and then we are presented with our water polo caps – equipped with some headphones cunningly concealed in the earpieces.
Immediately we begin to hear a smooth, reassuring female voice, who seems to understand our confusion at being thrust into this changing room to be shouted at by our rude coach. Over the next forty minutes, she intersperses her coolly delivered instructions with more motivational coaching from the mustachioed leader. We are asked to divulge secrets to the assembled company whilst wearing goggle-blindfolds, and play trust games with a fellow teammate. Perhaps the funniest moment of the show is the most unplanned, when the bench holding up me and my teammates collapses, sending all four of us tumbling backwards, landing in a fortunately unhurt heap on the floor! The company dealt with this mishap well however, and as their soundtracks were no pre-recorded, it didn’t cause any awkward synchronisation problems.
This show is a fun and well thought out piece of work, by a young company who took their inspiration from more established outfits such as Rotozaza, but who have gone in a slightly different direction to create a more personalised experience, which in some ways does not feel so isolating. However, whilst The Time Out aims to look at the notion of creating a team, and team dynamics, somehow the show feels a little lacking in substance, as though the issues and nuances of team playing are not explored as deeply as they might be, and the audience are not seriously challenged at any point.
All that being said, for the Olympic year, this sport-centric, uniquely styled performance should deservedly receive a lot of bookings, and it would be nice if it could find its way into some non-theatre venues, such as sports centre changing rooms. What was really lacking at Latitude was that evocative tang of chlorine in the air (although I’m sure the farm wouldn’t have been happy with them splashing bleach around the place for the sake of authenticity!)