As the audience is welcomed, mist shimmers down upon the stage of the Odeon Theatre, catching the light as pools of liquid submerge the room. The water infuses everything, from the ominous splashes of prowling footballers to the literally reflective monologues that ripple out from the women they victimise.
A solid ensemble cast capably deliver the rhyme and rhythm of Patricia Cornelius’s timely script, a nuanced and human exploration of how the rules of the nightclub, football club and – most of all – the boys' club conspire to create a culture of sexual assault in the AFL world and beyond.
Anna Steen does a particularly fine job bringing out the complexity of veteran clubber Ruby, who after a long career of successfully turning the tables on footballers by using their bodies for her own ends, finds herself judged as used-up and past her prime. This makes for an interesting parallel with Nathan O'Keefe's character James, a simmering sportsman on-the-wane.
Visually arresting, aurally dynamic and with something useful to add to an essential conversation, In The Club is well worth wading into.