Sunday, May 26, 2024

Testmatch Review: Romping through themes of racism, paternalism and feminism

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What I know about cricket could be written on the pointy end of a pin. As for Women’s cricket, there would be additional space for The Bible, the Complete Works of Shakespeare and a book of my choice.

So when rain stops play at a crucial moment in the India v. England’s match of the Women’s Cricket World Cup, I was eyeing the EXIT minutes after the start of Kate Attwell’s play.

Moments later, my eyes were fixed on the six women on stage as they argued and jostled, swaggered and fought in the present before returning in the second half as 18th Century cricket-loving fops stripping Bengal of its resources for the East India Company while the indigenous population grows increasingly impoverished.

Performed with gusto by the six strong cast – Aiyana Bartlett, Aarushi Riya Ganju, Haylie Jones, Tanya Katyal, Bea Svistunenko, Mia Turner – Diane Page’s high energy production romps through the themes of racism, paternalism, competition, feminism and corruption like a bolting horse.

If the first half is naturalistic, the second half is played as Restoration farce until the humour curdles as the human cost of exploitation and corporate arrogance and the present crashes into the past. Attwell throws everything into the mix and the result is messy and inconclusive but there is no denying its impact.

Reader, I loved it.

Testmatch is playing at Orange Tree Theatre until May 18

Tickets: 020 8940 3633

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