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Newbury Dramatic Society - Outside Edge

18th to 21st November 2009.

From the Newbury Weekly News.

Stumped by slow pace of delivery

Newbury Dramatic Society: Outside Edge, at New Greenham Arts, from Wednesday, November 18 to Saturday, November 21

According to playwright Richard Harris, Outside Edge is not a play about cricket, but a play about people - different types we recognise but (hopefully) don't relate to. This leaves us free to laugh getting too close to home.

The action deals with a chaotic Saturday, when a cricket club's obsessive captain, Roger, is trying to get his team together to play against the fearsome British Railways Maintenance Division Yeading East - at least five of whom are "genuine West Indians". His problems are complicated by the personal lives of his team members, their wives, ex-wives, girlfriend, and a roller requiring a good greasing.

Outside Edge was first performed in 1979, and 30 years later is still going strong. It is a clever script and full of non sequiturs and one-liners which require strong delivery to keep up the pace and get the most out of the comedy. On the Thursday performance, there was a lack of crispness in delivery at times which slowed the pace. That said, we were treated to some great characterisations from the cast, and the result was a highly-enjoyable production, under the direction of Sylvia Knight.

Phil Campbell, after a shaky start, got well into the role of Roger, and Ruth Tibbets gave good value as Miriam, bustling around with her requests for help, followed by 'It's not compulsory!'. Mike Brooks gave a well thought out and strong performance as Bob, and Mike Cole was excellent as Dennis, bringing energy to the proceedings.

Caroline Stripp as the strapping fur-coated Maggie was splendid, with good delivery and worked well with Trevor Pitman who gave us good comedy as the wacky Kevin. Mandy Cole was first class and delightfully acerbic as Ginnie and Sharon Brown was the awkward Sharon, Alex's girlfriend (although the part of Alex seemed to have been strangely written out) and Ian Martin as Brian completed the cast.

The set was a little too basic for my liking with not enough detail, but good audio effects set the scene well for the cricket match. A difficult piece but, in all, well played Newbury Dramatic Society.