Thursday, 24 February 2011

The Pavilion ***

The Pavilion by Nick Musgrove & Alexandra Lee
Chapel off Chapel, Feb 24 to March 5, 2011
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Feb 24, 2011

You don’t need to be a cricket tragic to see The Pavilion, but it certainly helps to know a lofted cover drive from a reverse sweep and a wrong’un from a wide ball.

In this naturalistic, light comedy by Nick Musgrove and Alexandra Lee, directed by Tom Peterson, we are voyeurs in the clubrooms of the fictional Glendale Community Cricket Club. For 90 minutes we watch the Glendale eleven, who range from 16 to 60 years, career through their batting order in a match that could mark the end of their finals hopes.

The play’s structure follows the shape of the match. The dramatic action, punctuated by off-stage highlights on the pitch, plays out in the clubrooms where each lost wicket cues a new episode in the characters’ interactions. Although these avid, amateur sportsmen avoid discussing personal issues, these seep into the clubroom banter, revealing plenty about the individuals.

The provocative clown, Dave (Nick Russell) feels abandoned by best mate, Simmo (James Needham) whose loyalties now lie with his wife. Gambler, Alistair (Dylan Lloyd), places secretive bets between overs. Team captain, Martin (Paul Dawber), has a suspiciously low run rate and his secret affair damages the team’s morale.

Although this is not a theatrically imaginative script or groundbreaking production, it has a parade of diverse, recognisable characters, a few good laughs and it escalates to a final, satisfying, personal battle.

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