The Twelfth man
22nd February 2018
St Paul's School, Astley Bridge
Author: Liz Hume-Dawson
In the Year of the Woman how appropriate to do a play about a cricket team from Yorkshire who have to compete against ‘lasses’.
The Test Match Special theme SOUL LIMBO by Booker T & The MG’s set the scene beautifully for a cricketing spectacle and put the audience in the mood straight away.
The women have the men on the back-foot having to select all their best defensive shots, in more ways than one. Eileen Powell brings out the humour in this play and the characters were well portrayed. The scene changes were done as efficiently as the grounds men with their covers at Lord’s.
A few first night nerves and prompts were apparent but I am sure they will be ironed out as the week goes on.
I did get a feel that their representation of a typical local ramshackle team was very true and you could imagine them being turned over by any competent ladies team let alone the senior England ladies team.
Just as every poor team has to be badly led, Carl Bottomley as Len captured the self destructing and selfish captain you would expect to see, treading on his own stumps. Ben Kilburn as Billy and Emma Powell as Pauline opened the batting very strongly, it was a fault of the writer that they were not extended more in the play. Paul Cohen’s ‘middle order’ contribution saw some beautifully timed comic strokes as the ghoulish undertaker.
Finally, I’d like to commend the play selection of such an entertaining but lesser known play, seemingly invisible on Google when I tried to research it! A refreshing find & welcome alternative to yet another version of ‘Outside Edge’ – well played, St. Paul’s!
Congratulations and thank you for inviting me.