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  • Writer's pictureAlex First

Cricket Is a Funny Game, at Chapel Off Chapel, as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival - 60 minutes

Updated: Apr 14

Stew Walker is an unashamed cricket tragic – always was and always will be.

 

His earliest memories include playing backyard cricket with his siblings, knowing both his father and grandfather were Premiership players with a local club.

 

Sporting an impressive Merv Hughes-like moustache, he takes to the stage in whites and with a veterans’ club cap … limping.

 

As he immediately explains, that is because he has a short leg. The tone is set for an evening of hilarity and hijinks.

 

There is no shortage of clever cricket quips, along with some all but mandatory dad jokes. They punctuate both his narrative and the 11 songs that constitute the show.

He spins yarns in between his deft musical offerings, the likes of I Could’ve Played for Australia, Don’t Take a Date to the Cricket and Five For in E Grade Vets.

 

Everything about the beloved sport is fair game, including how the terminology is used in everyday speak.

 

For starters, think of expressions such as “letting it go through to the keeper”, “keeping a straight bat” and “you’re stumped” … if you don’t know an answer.

 

He rightly points out that the line between what is cricket and what is not has been crossed time and again.

 

Scandal and dishonesty have plagued the game at its highest level and yet so many still love it.

 

Of course, foremost amongst them is Stew himself, who acknowledges he is a nerd and hardly a sportsman.

 

Still, he took to the field as a veteran and even managed to play at Lords – well, kind of.

 

Sledging, not surprisingly, rates a mention.


There’s the dummy spit that followed Jonny Bairstow’s controversial stumping.

 

So, too, the introduction of World Series Cricket, day/night games, coloured clothing and the glorious calls of Bill Lawry.

 

Stew relays details of the field trip he took with his dad when drop in pitches were about to be introduced.

 

Selectors favouritism of New South Welshman isn’t overlooked, nor the fact that at lower levels it is the big blokes that always field at first slip.

 

Most amusing is what happens when Stew takes to the creams again in the over 55s, after an 11-year hiatus.

 

Of course, by then physiotherapy and pain go hand in glove (if you pardon the pun) with any on field endeavours.

 

Fittingly, no cricket show would be complete without a reference to the greatest player to ever wield the willow, Sir Donald Bradman.

 

The man with the 99.94 average was also a witty raconteur and Stew gives us a couple of beaut stories.

 

He has written some fine material that resonates with others who, like him, have a deep-seated passion for the game.

 

He is adept on the strings and has a melodious singing voice.

 

Although at times appearing nervous and a little tentative, Stew’s show is witty and lively, notwithstanding a few too lengthy pregnant pauses.

 

In short, Cricket Is a Funny Game is good natured fun.

 

It was on at Chapel Off Chapel on 13th April 2024, as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.


For more information about Stew, go to stewwalker.com and Facebook.com/stewwalkercomedy

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