The atmosphere was electric. Just moments before showtime, the cast all came onstage dressed in classic Australian sporting clothes of shorts and jerseys, chatting with the audience casually about Rugby League (NRL) and joking around. The lights hadn’t even dimmed yet and audience members were still walking in. A very unique start that paved the way to a rich atmosphere of one amazing play. This is The Longest Minute.
This play was fantastic start to finish, despite my lack of interest in sports. There is really something in this play for everyone – although, don’t bring the kids as there is quite a bit of swearing. The play was perfectly cast and through the entire piece the actors held the audience in their palms of their hands. When something exciting or funny was happening, the atmosphere in the audience was buzzed and excited, but the second the play’s mood shifted the audience responded too. This caused a powerful contrast throughout the play where sadder scenes were accented by the audience’s silence and the upbeat scenes held an exhilarating atmosphere. It really was one of those ‘see it to believe it’ moments.
On stage the characters felt incredibly real. You had Louise Brehmer playing foul-mouthed rugby mum Margaret Wright, who was hilarious to watch. Jeremy Ambrum’s portrayal of Laurie Wright was beyond exceptional. He was funny, timing jokes perfectly, but when it came to the heavier scenes, he left a lasting impression. The stand out was definitely Chenoa Deemal, as Jessica Wright. Her character gripped the entire audience. When something bad happened to her you could feel it ripple throughout the entire theatre. When she was funny or excited, she spread so much infectious energy.
Another thing that was absolutely phenomenal about this play was the story. Its mixture of humour, twists and thought provoking moments complimented the characters perfectly. There were confronting moments too, such as when other characters attacked or bullied Jessica and her family due to their race. The big underlying theme in this play was women in sport and it definitely came through. Jessica was constantly berated over her love of NRL and playing the game simply because of her gender. It was a message that was thoughtfully delivered and left a lasting impression, moving the audience.
I believe that this is a must-see play, even if you are not into any kind of sports. There is so much here to love. All who were involved in this play should be congratulated, for they have created something incredible.