It’s just not cricket is a phrase which has come into common use signifying something that’s simply not on.

In Kate Attwell’s thought-provoking Testmatch, the noble game is used as way of leading the audience into far more fascinating debates whether than to bring the spinner on after lunch.

The Bolton News: Bea Svistunenko, Haylie Jones and Tanya Katyal in Testmatch(Picture: Helen Murray)

It’s a brave and ambitious piece of work, spanning more than 200 years of history and raising questions about colonialism, racism, sexism, sexuality, cheating and mental health.

If all that sounds a bit dry or worthy, think again. Testmatch moves along at a cracking pace, indeed at times it’s a bit too quick as the dialogue occasionally gets lost.

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You effectively get two plays in one, linked by common themes. Act one is set at Lords as rain has stopped play at and England v India Women’s World Cup match.

The Bolton News: Aarushi Riya Ganju, Alyana Bartlett and Taya Katyal in Testmatch (Picture: Helen Murray)

The second act takes us to Calcutta in the 1800s and the fiefdom of the East India Company where profit rather than humanity is the mantra.

If you’re not a cricket fan don’t worry. Sure there are some cricket references but you don’t need to love or even understand the game for the barbs to hit home.

As the players wait for the rain to stop, what starts as dressing room ‘banter’ between the two teams quickly escalates into something much more disturbing. Far more than sporting rivalry and a desire to win is revealed as the six strong cast pull no punches.

In contrast the second half appears lightweight, almost silly, until you consider it in detail.

Two buffoons of the East India Company - Bea Svistunenko and Haylie Jones, clearly having a ball play these two old duffers - prattle on about the rules of cricket and making money while the country starves.

The two halves come together in a way which should make you sit up and take notice and raise questions so relevant today’s society.

Until Saturday. Details from