Playing Away

  • 1986
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Sports

A comedy with a point, PLAYING AWAY uses a cricket match to explore the cultural conflicts that have arisen in increasingly multiracial Britain. Snedington, a provincial English village, hopes to top off its "Third World Week" with a friendly cricket match against a West Indian team from south London, the Brixton Conquerors. Derek (Nicholas Farrel), the...read more

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A comedy with a point, PLAYING AWAY uses a cricket match to explore the cultural conflicts that have arisen in increasingly multiracial Britain. Snedington, a provincial English village, hopes to top off its "Third World Week" with a friendly cricket match against a West Indian team from

south London, the Brixton Conquerors. Derek (Nicholas Farrel), the snobby captain of the Snedington side, makes the arrangements with the Conquerors' captain, Willie-Boy (poignantly played by Norman Beaton), whose wife has returned to Jamaica and who has grown distant from his Anglicized daughter.

The first third of the film cuts back and forth between both communities as they prepare for the contest, mutually afflicted by the sticky wicket of prejudice and ignorance and beset with internal dissension (class conflict in Snedington, generational confrontations in Brixton, romantic

complications in both locales). The middle section of the film depicts the weekend festivities that lead up to the match and the cross-cultural encounters that both allay racist fears and exacerbate them, and the final portion concentrates on the match. American viewers unfamiliar with cricket may

find the game footage a little confusing, but an understanding of the nuances of the sport isn't necessary to appreciate the sociocultural and psychological gamesmanship that is at work here. Moreover, PLAYING AWAY is more than just a slice-of-society document; it presents its conflicts on a

personal level, though occasionally individual characterizations gravitate toward stereotype. This, however, is not the case in the complex, sympathetic relationship that develops between Willie-Boy and Godfrey (Robert Urquhart), an Englishman who was more at home in Africa than in his

homeland.

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  • Released: 1986
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: A comedy with a point, PLAYING AWAY uses a cricket match to explore the cultural conflicts that have arisen in increasingly multiracial Britain. Snedington, a provincial English village, hopes to top off its "Third World Week" with a friendly cricket match… (more)

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