Opens Jan 24


Members say: Great staging, Ambitious, Clever, Thought-provoking, Relevant
4 reviews
6 reviews

It's 1973, and Houston's Astrodome is playing host to one of the biggest cultural events of all time as Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs face-off in the Battle of the Sexes tennis match.

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From the creative team behind 'Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally', 'Balls' is a high-intensity theatrical retelling of this unforgettable match and the cultural debates it ignited around sexism, women-in-sport, and equality. One Year Lease's high-energy physical style attempts to capture the carnival atmosphere of the original event, and features a shot-by-shot re-imagining of the entire match. 


Cast & Creatives (20)

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To see or not to see (0)

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Reviews (10)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score


for a previous production "Central to the match was the backdrop of the feminist movement...And it’s addressing this movement and its aftermath that 'Balls' serves up and often aces...Without question it’s the depiction of the match itself that’s the main accomplishment and joy of the show...We never really get to know Riggs or King, other than some brief insight into why each is playing...No question we’ve been given a theatrical spectacle. A damn good one at that." Full Review

CultureMap Houston

for a previous production "The play embodies all the audacity, daring and a dash of recklessness, that its title connotes, but it also possesses such sparks of life...'Balls,' ever kinetic, allows a multitude of other points of views to give voice to the event...The stellar performers move beautifully together...While 'Balls' tends to play more cerebral than visceral, it ultimately wins its match made in theater, as one not to be missed." Full Review

Birth Movies Death

for a previous production "This unique production delivers one of the most technically impressive reimaginings of a historical event while delving into the deep emotions behind its social context...An innovative play with the most impressive level of technical precision. It’s rife with humor, poking fun at the very concept of the battle of the sexes. Yet it gets reflective in ways I never expected, offering stark criticism and authentic heartbreak that blurs the lines between the gender wars." Full Review

The Theatre Times

for a previous production "'Balls' fully captures the circus atmosphere of the most well-known—and absurd—tennis match of all time...Aside from fast-paced direction by Ianthe Demos and Nick Flinte, Natalie Lomonte’s movement direction is a triumph in and of itself...So perfectly captures the circus that was the Battle of the Sexes...As a tennis fan, I was impressed at the accuracy of both story and execution. As a theatre fan, I was blown away by the theatricality of the performance." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score

During previews
Funny, Clever, Relevant, Confusing, Great staging

See it if you are a tennis fan, and especially remember the famous Billy Jean King vs Bobby Riggs of the '70s

Don't see it if you don't enjoy tennis or aren't interested in some historical background on the famous match

Also The show brought the world-famous tennis Battle of the Sexes into the ... Read more Read less

During previews
Ambitious, Fun, Great staging, Clunky, Convoluted

See it if you want a really creatively staged production in a small theater with lots of nuggets of great history and thought provoking performance

Don't see it if don't want a great story cluttered by random side stories that sometimes work (screaming fans) and don't (ball boy/girl relationship).

Also Overall good fun and very clever, creative and ambitious. Bobby Riggs ... Read more Read less

During previews
Thought-provoking, Disappointing, Slow

See it if You appreciate signs telling you the point of the play is Gay rights, abortion rights , women’s rights

Don't see it if You want an thoughtful exploration of a complicated time and the historical events surrounding the Billie J king tennis match in 1973

During previews
Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Imaginatively staged, Takes too long to warm up

See it if you are interested in gender inequality in the 70s and now. Insightful material that's creatively-staged. Theater becomes a stadium.

Don't see it if you want in-depth characters or effective humor. Just get past the (ineffective) opening VO and the tedious 1st game. Lots to like here.

Also I didn't like the two distracting clown characters (for the "carnival"... Read more Read less

During previews
Inventive, Refreshing, Crazy good staging, New take on 40-year old story

See it if You'd enjoy an exciting view of the classic match, shot for shot, within the circus atmosphere of the event & times presented with joy,...

Don't see it if energy & humor. Evocative & sly, remarkable precision of movement, lots of fun. A bit weak on character development but still an experience!

During previews
Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you are not too young to have heard about the "battle of the sexes" tennis match. This one covers all the aspects of this event with panache

Don't see it if you have no interest in tennis, feminism, famous sports figures, unique staging or an enlightening plot whose ending is no surprise.

Also See this show. It is not only fun to watch, but has been meticulously ... Read more Read less