‘Squad Goals’ was intense.
Proving that netball isn’t a game to take light-heartedly, Share House Theatre Company has delivered a wickedly horrific new work by Alexander Bayliss. Presenting ‘Squad Goals’ at Metro Arts, this original one-act play served a whole lot of attitude, carnage and female power.
With a supernatural storyline, ‘Squad Goals’ followed the under 16 Fairfield Falcons netball team and their quest for victory. Exploring how far one would go to win, this femme farfetched black comedy faced a whole lot of issues and evils – especially after the team finds their goalkeeper ‘possessed’.
Entering the theatre, audiences were welcomed with a bad-ass vibe, smoky dark atmosphere and feminist anthems – an attitude definitely reminiscent of the themes within ‘Squad Goals’. A singular netball hoop was lit as a focal point on the stage. The set itself, designed by Anna Straker, was donned with apocalyptic styled shrubbery and debris. Metal fences sectioned off the stage, and clutter made the zone feel like we were in the middle of nowhere. It was urban, raw, and painted the perfect horror scene for a gory story to be unleashed on the court (or rather the stage).
With surreal characters and an absurd context, the intensity within ‘Squad Goals’ sometimes made action incredibly unrealistic, thus creating moments of awkward humour and squirming reactions. The play had bite and took dramatic risks. From crucifixions to hostages, this wasn’t your average day at netball. ‘Squad Goals’ highlighted the close contact nature and competitive spirit, which lies at its core. For some audience members, it could be deemed too much, especially with bouts of fake blood and violence. But for others, it made for a thrilling and dynamic piece of theatre not often conceptualised.
Featuring a sickening all-female cast of ‘Mean Girls’, roles were challenging and power-hungry. Stealing the show as the comic relief was Aimee Duroux with her ‘Gretchen Wieners’ inspired Alison. As Wing Attack and the keeper of all the secrets, Duroux was engaging and funny. She brought much-needed light to a frequently extreme production. Her comedy was dependable and delivered with gusto.
Bek Schmidt gave a realistic performance as the wronged, Becca. Like her position on the team, Schmidt was defensive, authentic and authoritative. Lisa Davidson delivered her own ‘Regina George’ impression with the psychopathic bully, Michelle. Centre of the action, Davidson was commanding and straight-faced with her delivery.
Special mention must also go to the remaining cast members – Marni Forde-Sloan as Lilly and Karli Rae as Jess. Both women had an ambitious task of delivering minimal speaking parts and leaving their mark. Credit to them, as their commitment brought life to their characters. When Rae spoke for the first time, her words intentionally lingered.
Directing team, Alexander Bayliss and Emma Black, have had fun staging the crazy action in an intimate space. A lot of moments were delivered still, which really allowed the abilities of their acting ensemble to shine through.
Another wonderful element within the production was the clever soundscape, which heightened tension and allowed audiences to imagine the setting with ease. Designed by Mike Willmett, a series of crickets, white noise and haunting evening sounds really amplified the mood. It added realism to a play with incredibly dark topics and graphic twists.
‘Squad Goals’ was a twisted new work by an impressive troupe of emerging artists. Bayliss’ latest script touched on millennial problems in an extremely unconventional way. The work was different, exciting and brought a unique cutting-edge style to its forefront. If anything, ‘Squad Goals’ will make you think twice about joining a netball team.
‘Squad Goals’ performs at Metro Arts until Saturday, 9 March 2019. Tickets are available at https://www.trybooking.com/book/sessions?eid=449640