I know nothing about football. Nothing. I am the loneliest person in a pub during trivia nights when the questions are asked about so-and-so… I have no idea. None.

So it may be a surprise to some that I would attend Reg Cribb’s play which focuses firmly on the rise (and fall) of Jim and Phil Krakouer, two Noongar brothers from Mount Barker. But to others who know that I am desperately curious about most things, and also deeply committed to voraciously consuming any Australian play on offer – it was easy to head out to the opening at the Seymour Centre.

I was remarking that night how it seems that I am spending most of my theatre-going time of late at The Seymour Centre. I think it is a combination of things – perhaps its the clear and sturdy support Tim Jones has shown to the recently B-Sharpless independent artists, but also the focus on new Australian work which has got me homing back to the voluminous foyer time and time again. And now the Seymour is hosting Deckchair Theatre’s production which has received critical acclaim…

For some this is a portrait of Australia’s changing attitude to her indigenous people, for others a trip down AFL memory lane, for me it was a story really about the fortitude of family and brotherly love. Cribb’s two-hour play spans over 30 years in the lives of the Krakouer brothers performed by a cast of three – Leon Burchill, Sean Dow and Luke Hewitt. It’s a tough gig in many ways – a large story, of epic social and political proportions – and theatricalising the lives of two brothers (who are also football stars) can’t have been easy… in the dramatic representation of a life which is the most important story to tell? How do you determine what the message, or question of the play is, when the “characters” are still alive? Cribb has chosen to attack the vast quantity of information with a series of direct addresses to the audience. And so the whole piece feels like a verbatim theatre account of someone’s life. However, this is not my favourite style of theatre writing, but it is functional. Functional and factual. There was one moment that I felt quite connected to and moved by the story, but that was when the actors had a chance to find some solemnity and gravitas in the connection between the two brothers… which gave me a glimpse into a very personal, very private life. But that glimpse was momentary and does not override the over all tone of factual reportage.

As a piece of theatre, the actors do a splendid job in telling this story simply and plainly -without much sentimentality or hero-worship. The tone of the play steers away from romanticism of the relationships or overly elevated/poetic language – and I think this is largely due to the gearing of this play for the footy enthusiasts more than for the theatre enthusiasts. And so this is clearly a piece of fan theatre. Nothing wrong with that. And despite the fact I know nothing about AFL, I was able to appreciate the clarity of the storytelling. But the story has a very distinct “to be continued” feel about it – perhaps because their lives are still a work in progress.

This production is definitely a rewarding experience for all the patient sporting AFL enthusiasts out there who have accompanied their partners to endless Greek tragedies or Russian adaptations…

If nothing else, at least I know a little bit more about that corner of Australian culture and history.