Edinburgh Fringe 2010
An uplifting one person show, telling a story of cricket, family and the things that matter to us from treason Show’s Mark Brailsford.
Sam Smith, cricket fan, top-spins a tale of family life, where domestic fixtures such a babies dovetail with cricket fixtures. Sam has a mistress – Sussex County Cricket Club. Mark Brailsford, who has scored more than a few comedy centuries with The Treason Show plays Sam, along with a host of other characters, not just in Sam’s biography but also in the history of cricket itself, decade by decade, From 19th Century right up to the 20-20-21st. We even learn the rules of cricket along the way.
Brailsford is a skilled performer and the story performing is tight and accessible. I enjoyed the quick paced humour and Brailsford’s infectious lightness. Is he the Derek Randall of the comedy theatre cricket pitch?
On a deeper level this is a tale of epic enthusiasm and a fever pitch love of something important. The story switches between Sam’s life and the game he loves.
Theatrically Brailsford relies on direct storytelling, needs no props, and some pastiche vintage movie reel adds to the proceedings though it might have been better for Brailsford to have the confidence to rely on his undoubted competence as an actor, comedy performer and storyteller alone. Though I have to say, his film-rush across Brighton is a neat use of film with theatre. The ending film is a bit too sketch-like and feels superfluous.
There are projected photos and a little bit of film to visually support the unfolding story. Like big cricket matches, to really come alive, this endearing comedy half century (in minutes long) needs and deserves a bigger crowd of spectators at Remarkable Arts’ Hill Street Theatre. And you don’t need to be a cricket fan to enjoy it, just a fan of a good story told with panache. This umpire certainly needs no second opinion to say he enjoyed this light comedy match. And if you don’t have cash for a ticket, just bung it on the plastic…