Picture: Manuela Cifra
Blaise Murphet reviews The Pavilion after opening night.
Throughout history it would be fair to say that cricket and theatre have not been great bedfellows. In fact, cricket and the arts in general have not had much in common, perhaps excluding visual arts and 10CC’s ‘Dreadlock Holiday’ (“I don’t like cricket…I love it!”). However, all that has now changed with the world premiere of ‘The Pavillion’, a new comedy about cricket that opened to much fan-fair in Melbourne, Australia last Friday.
‘The Pavillion’ is a fantastic show that focuses on the plight of the fictional Glendale Cricket Club as it battles relegation in the final game of the season. What really stands out in this show is the range of characters that anyone who has played cricket, or any club sport, will instantly recognise. There’s the old-timer Victor (Bob Crawford) who, whilst still opening the batting, is really there to stay socially active, father and son Jeff (Aston Elliot) and Alex (Charlie Ranger) who are dealing with troubles at home, the rambunctious pair of Sanjay (Shash Lall) and Dave (Nick Russell), and amongst others the perennial 12th man, Freddy (Eden Porter).
Whilst these characters may at first seem to simply reflect broad clichés, the writers, and indeed the actors, are able to draw upon these well-recognised types to embellish them with rich personalities that we can relate to. This is, perhaps, most fully realised through the character of Freddy, who’s frantically hopeless stature within the team immediately makes one think of any given occasion that we have felt out of our depth.
This really is a character driven piece, as it all takes place within the change room as the characters come and go as wickets fall. As such, it relies on the actors to keep hitting their marks (so to speak), and by-and-large they do, particularly as they build-up to the big finale. Much then must be said of the great creative team of Alex Lee (producer and writer), Nick Musgrove (writer) and Tom Peterson (director), who have produced a winning formula of sport and comedy, with just enough dramatic bite.
Readers of this website may well ask why World Cricket Watch is reviewing a show that is taking place only in Melbourne. The answer simply is that given ‘The Pavillion’ so successfully combines theatre and cricket, it is more likely than not that this show, in some form or another, will travel to your place soon. If that is the case, get along and enjoy the ride.
An Interview with Director Tom Peterson and 12th Man Eden Porter
Tom Peterson and Eden Porter came into the studio to talk to us on the weekly cricket podcast One Hand One Bounce. You can listen to the interview by clicking play below.
Visit the Pavilion website for ticketing info and more.
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