All Saints’ College – Centre for Performing Arts, Perth, Western Australia
Major Sponsor: Wendy Brockbank, F1® Experiences Authorised Sales Agent for Australia and New Zealand and MTA Travel
What a treat it was for over 400 Formula 1™ fans based in Perth, Western Australia to behold the debut one-man show of David Croft (aka “Crofty”), Sky Sports UK commentator and renowned F1® race broadcaster.
VIP guests began arriving at the venue nearly two hours before the show was set to start, excited for the exclusive opportunity to meet Crofty in person and get a photo with him whilst enjoying food and drinks. Plenty of laughs could be heard as Crofty spent time with each VIP guest, sharing his entertaining insights – and there were many – covering a range of topics not limited to F1.
It wasn’t long before the General Admission ticket holders began to arrive and wait for the show to begin. The sense of anticipation was palpable.
“It’s lights out …
and away we go!”
The “Ask Crofty” Show
Crofty kept the audience thoroughly entertained for over two and a half hours with his extensive knowledge of motorsport, insights into the world of sports commentary and engagement with the audience. He masterfully handled audience questions and drew out comments and predictions from rival fans distinguished by their Mercedes hats, Ferrari jackets and Renault t-shirts, always balanced with his own views and insider knowledge.
This was certainly a night of “firsts” – it was the first ever production of the stage show “Ask Crofty”; it was the first time anyone had seen footage from inside the commentary box during a race; and it was the first time Crofty’s partner had been to Perth!
Crofty’s opening monologue included some of the story of how he got on the path to becoming the most respected current broadcaster of F1 – from his early childhood, his work with the BBC, to finally securing his place in the F1 commentary box with Sky Sports UK. He also shared his views on the current state of affairs in the world of F1 politics, with special mention made of Ferrari.
Technology played its part in the evening without overshadowing the star of the show, as Crofty used the live surveys to engage with the audience in his inimitable and very humorous style. The audience lapped it up and freely offered opinions in the intimate theatre where the acoustics allowed everyone to feel part of the conversation. Prizes were handed out using a live spinning wheel that identified random seat numbers on the huge video screen, to an auditorium filled with “chocolate wheel” anticipation.
Crofty even brought with him previously unseen footage from inside the commentators’ box during the 2019 Abu Dhabi race showing the literally breathtaking task he has each race. With the footage rolling, Crofty was meant to take a well-earned 15-minute intermission but ended up staying on stage to explain how things operated within the box and what each person’s role was.
One of the most poignant parts of the evening occurred when Crofty invited four guests to the stage to take part in the “Commentator’s Challenge”, whereby guests were asked to try their hand at commentating and attempt to rival Crofty’s quick tongue. The guests were admirable in their attempts but went some way to highlight what an extraordinary talent Crofty has in commentating action-packed F1 races. One young volunteer was very enthusiastic to participate but slightly overwhelmed by the task so Crofty stepped in to help, showing himself to be a warm and gentle co-commentator, assisting this young man to participate.
Talented local artist, Paul Trappett, was commissioned to produce portraits of Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo prior to the evening and these large canvases flanked Crofty on stage throughout the evening. Crofty informed the audience that these unique pieces were to be auctioned to raise funds for Australia’s bush fire relief efforts. As you can imagine, Crofty’s commentary skills aided him in taking on the role of auctioneer and after a suggestion from a member of the audience, those bidding were asked to stand as Crofty called out increasingly higher bid amounts. The audience were immersed in the bidding war that saw some sit down and opt out of the battle, and others stand tall as the bidding amount grew. Thousands of dollars were raised for charity.
At the conclusion of the evening, with the audience still wanting more, the producers of the show surprised Crofty by informing him that they had commissioned three portraits, not two. With genuine surprise Crofty accepted the gift of his own portrait from both the artist and the event organiser, Wendy Brockbank, F1® Experiences Authorised Sales Agent for Australia and New Zealand and MTA Travel. The audience erupted in applause at the end of the evening, especially at the news that the “Ask Crofty” evening would be repeated again next year – and expanded throughout Australia.
The details regarding the 2021 “Ask Crofty” shows – around Australia – will be released FIRST on the website at fanofsport.com.
Check out the “Ask Crofty” tab on the website and our F1® Experiences blog for all up-to-date information…….