The Longest Minute is a co-production of Debase and Jute Theatre Company, in collaboration with Queensland Theatre, now playing at The Cremorne Theatre, QPAC until the 23rd of June.
Jess Wright (Chenoa Deemal), is an effervescent, Rugby League die-hard fan. Her passion for the game is etched in her DNA. As the daughter of Frank Wright (Mark Sheppard), AKA 'Black Flash' a local Foley Shield legend, Jess was born into it. Literally, she was born on the night of the Cowboys' first game in Townsville. Her parents so enraptured by the game her mother cheered through contractions.
Like most lifelong supporters of any game, we watch the Wright family stick by their team. We feel their joy, heartbreak and elation as they religiously show their undying support. Jess never stops believing in her Cowboys, even through what feels like an endless streak of upsets. There is always the next game or the next season. Her positivity extends to her dream of following in her father's footsteps and becoming a Rugby Legend herself.
However, the road to even having a shot at her dream is as long and tumultuous as her team's journey to that glorious NRL 2015 Grand Final.
"Rugby League will break your heart, always has, always will" Jessica Wright
I thoroughly enjoyed this production. It surprised me in many ways. Firstly, I am not a Rugby League fan, I grew up in a soccer-crazed home. Which is likely why I feared the story of this Grand Final minute would be lost on me. Fortunately, team spirit is a transferrable sentiment. The Longest Minute is more than just a love letter to the North Queensland Cowboys, it's a clever, uplifting Queensland story.
Jess shares insightful vignettes of life as a biracial female and also touches on old-fashioned gender discrimination. Her brother, weighed down by heavy expectations and identity, has his own set of struggles. I loved that regardless of all their troubles and personal failings the family continues to show up. The Wrights don't ever give up, not on themselves, not on each other and never ever on their team.
That to me it is an important message to hear. Wishing alone gets you nowhere, dreams manifest through hard work and persistence. You need to show up. Jess was not just fanatical about supporting her team but about working hard at her own goals.
The two standouts for me were Chenoa Deemal (Jessica Wright) and Louise Brehmer (Margaret Wright), they both demand your attention and make you believe every word and action. The entire cast is fantastically entertaining. They manage to recreate that epic moment that Cowboy's fans will forever remember as the best longest minute ever!
This one is for everyone. If you love the game or not, you will love this show. On opening night, there were competing jerseys scattered all through the audience. Everyone is welcome and everyone seemed to have enjoyed it. I laughed, I cried and I cheered for them. Well done to all evolved in conveying such an entertaining story.
Make sure you book your tickets and catch The Longest Minute - I am sure you will also rise to your feet as I did.
WRITTEN BY: Robert Kronk
CAST Jeremy Ambrum - Laurie Wright Louise Brehmer - Margaret Wright Lafe Charlton - Uncle Gordon Chenoa Deemal - Jessica Wright Mark Sheppard - Frank Wright David Terry - Ensemble