Five-a-Side Theatre

“Join our storytelling team as they use innovative improve [sic] techniques to craft a narrative from audience members’ true stories,” boasts the Five-a-Side flyer. Imagine the disappointment when, far from this promise, you are subjected to five students dressed in cheap Disney princess costumes, telling a story that is not only not improvised but is also mind-numbingly poor.

Five-a-Side is free, so you won’t waste your money, but you’ll want to claw back the time you spend watching it.

It seems Five-a-Side have a very loose interpretation of what improvisation is – traditionally, a long-form improvisation show would a) take several suggestions from the audience, b) work completely from scratch to use said suggestions, and c) maybe make the audience laugh. It’s not that Five-a-Side don’t achieve any of these things - they don’t even aim for them.

We’re introduced to the five Disney princesses - Pocahontas (or ‘Pokie’), Snow White, Rapunzel (of Tangled), Merida (of Brave) and Tiana (of The Princess and the Frog) – and they promise us a story, created uniquely for us. They promise to break down the boundaries of race, gender and class. It’s hard to tell who the piece was intended for – the four-year-old girl in the front row didn’t seem like the target audience for later sequences about drinking and partying, but the rest of the (adult) audience were bored witless.

The cast took one suggestion from the audience. “Give us an object that’s special to you!” Somebody, after a thick, uncomfortable silence, suggested a hat. The hat did feature in the story that followed, but in scripted sentences where it could have been replaced by literally any other object. The mess of the main performance could have been forgiven if it had been genuinely improvised, but for a scripted play, it had no redeeming features.

The princesses blunder from scene to disjointed scene, some which are assumedly badly sign-posted flashbacks. It’s hard to tell if any character work has gone into the performance - although the actress playing Rapunzel does maintain a bright, feminine tone of voice throughout, that’s basically as far as it goes.

Five-a-Side is free, so you won’t waste your money, but you’ll want to claw back the time you spend watching it.

Reviews by Caitlin Hobbs

Paradise in The Vault

The Cupboard

★★★★★
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

#Realiti

★★
Scottish Storytelling Centre

Pirates and Mermaids

★★★★★
SpaceTriplex

Boys

★★★★
theSpace @ Jury's Inn

One Above

★★★
Spotlites

Cracked Tiles

★★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Tell us all about it... hear your story – all five sides of it! A different show each night, join our storytelling team as they use innovative improve techniques to craft a narrative from audience members’ true stories. Follow @5ASideTheatre for more information or to share your stories with us.