The Longest Minute.
Review by Douglas Kennedy.

The Longest Minute by Robert Kronk and Nadine McDonald-Dowd. Queensland Theatre & Cairns based JUTE Theatre Company co- production. Directed by Bridget Boyle. Features Jeremy Ambrum, Louise Brehmer, Lafe Charlton,Chenoa Deemal, Mark Sheppard, David Terry. Cremorne Theatre, QPAC (till June 23) & Pilbeam Theatre Rockhampton (June 28).

To footy fans – particularly those in Queensland’s deep north – the longest minute was the one at the end of the 2015 NRL Grand Final, in which JT (Johnathan Thurston) snatched victory from the jaws of familiar defeat.

If the above sentence appears vague and even slightly remote than – probably like this reviewer – you are not much of a footy fan.

Having said that anyone who loves life affirming stories couldn’t fail to be touched by the Townsville Cowboys’ slow and agonizing climb from obscurity to a fairy tale ending.

This monumental sporting event is now the backdrop of an all-embracing, heartwarming and occasionally dysfunctional family saga showcasing the lives of the part indigenous Wright family.

Their story, penned by Bundaberg and Mackay scribes Robert Kronk and Nadine McDonald-Dowd, depicts them as footy tragics on a collision course with destiny.

The story opens in 1985 when mum and dad, white woman Margaret (Louise Brehmer) and aspiring Aboriginal footy player Frank Wright (Mark Sheppard) known as the Black Flash, found each other and love.

This would have been a controversial match back then, but strong-minded Margaret gives the world the finger and she and Frank launch into a long-term marriage.

Along the way their fortunes mirror those of their team, the Cowboys, as first off-spring Laurie (Jeremy Ambrum) and then Jessie (Chenoa Deemal) come into the world and soon embrace the family passion.

Laurie enjoys his sport – but shrinks away from his dad’s determination to make him a star – while Jessie (never seen out of her kit) is having a love affair with the game.

As time goes by Margaret’s gender comes between her and her ambition to make footy her life, while Frank seems to only notice indifferent Laurie.

There’s drama and tragedy afoot – but no spoilers here – as the time line takes the audience towards that 2015 date with destiny.

Actor Chenoa Deemal gives a standout out performance as Jessica, while the whole cast give an enthusiastic and energetic commitment to the work.

The Longest Minute covers a myriad of family issues in an engaging and occasionally moving way, but ultimate it is, as director Bridget Boyle says, a play for both sports and theatre loves.

Go The Longest Minute.

Photo Caroline Russo

2 Readers Commented

Join discussion
  1. Mark on June 23, 2018

    An absolutely awesome play. I took my girlfriend who grew up there and knew a lot of people and names mentioned. It was a surprise present. She bawled her eyes out. Very confronting, but amazing

    • Caroline Russo Author on June 24, 2018

      That is amazing and thanks for sharing with us too.