I thought I’d missed a window for this review but look ^ it’s been extended for three more shows. I saw “The Second Test” on opening night. I knew it was about cricket and that it was a one-man show. Beyond that – well, it was geek week and I didn’t make any time to do more investigation into the story.
The basic story is this – NZ are playing Sth Africa in a cricket test. One of the NZ cricketers has received news that his fiancee has been killed in the train crash at Tangiwai. He chooses not to play. The remaining 10 players take the field. (Two at a time as NZ are batting.) Several players are injured. Finally the nine are out. Both teams start walking off the field when a figure appears… giving NZ their 11th man back allowing play to continue.
I enjoyed the versatility and staging in the show. It’s a wonderful showcase for Jonny Brugh who gets to play a myriad of different characters including the PM, classic kiwi blokes, women, and a Sth African driver. There are some very clever and very funny scenes. There is emotional truth in these characters. I’ll confess to getting a bit lost as to which character was which. (I put that down to the fact that I haven’t watched team sports for a while and have therefore lost the ability to remember a bunch of names.) The writers have talked to some of the players families so the story has that extra bit of insight. Film footage of the tour shot by one of the players rounds out the show adding something extra special.
Monday 15 – Saturday 27 February at The Herald Theatre.
Tickets $20-$25. Book at The Edge.
Read more about the story in “Men in white : the history of New Zealand international cricket, 1894-1985” by Don Neely and Richard King.