Time is relative, it moves at different speeds — but sometimes that gets stretched to the extreme.
Deborah Pearson’s The Wonder Striker was billed as a 40 minute show but ended up lasting 90; that might be excused for an early work in progress, as this was, but not when its core is a film screening with a fixed duration.
The movie in question is a Hungarian political satire, based in a fictional country ruled by football where the machinations of the despotic leaders extend to poaching Ferenc Puskás, a soccer legend of the time, in a bid to win favour.
A case of mistaken identity instead leads to them hiring a pair of con artists, with ensuing chaos as the trick gradually becomes a[umlaut]undone.
Performed at Norwich Arts Centre as part of this year’s Norfolk and Norwich Festival, Pearson gave a loose translation and commentary as the film played out, revealing a family connection to the piece and mid-way through segueing to a re-staged interview with the film’s writer.
The interplay of the film, Russian politics, and her own family’s role has promise, but Pearson’s faux-casual delivery of the first segment wore thin and the real-time recreation of her conversation with the screenwriter was over long.
As a half-hour documentary this could be an enjoyable and engaging insight into Eastern Europe. At the same length, ironically, as a football match, it just doesn’t deliver enough reward — hopefully as the show develops the telling will tighten.