Howzat! Superb acting makes cricketing comedy a hit
PUBLISHED: 08:00 24 March 2019
Play brings together a group of increasingly irritating characters trying to stage a village cricket match
In characterisations reminiscent of Ayckbourn, Richard Harris uses the setting of a village cricket match to catalogue the unfolding catastrophes in the players’ private lives, in Outside Edge.
With Budleigh’s strong cricketing legacy, the play seemed an apt choice for the Salterton Players.
As always in the playhouse, the curtain rose to reveal an impressive and original set and, with players running up and down the centre aisle, the audience felt immersed in the action. Great direction and clever use of space here by director Richard Gomm.
Subservient Mimi, the captain’s wife, has made a rod for her own back by pandering to husband Roger’s every need. It was great to see Kim Taylor step into the limelight (her usual role is stage manager). Her performance as people-pleasing and ever-organised Mimi was convincing. Tim Alsford rose to the challenge of playing Roger magnificently - he was pompous, irritating and, in equal measure affectionate and manipulative in his behaviour towards his long-suffering wife.
Caught between his current and ex wives, Phil Rogers’ portrayal of dithering and later, drunk, Bob was a delight. Sharp and witty, Penny Hill’s portrayal of Ginnie, with great comic timing, only made her husband look more pathetic – a great contrast.
There was another stand-out performance by Ken Elvy as the self-styled womaniser of the piece, Dennis, whose flirtatious exchanges with the other women were hilarious.
Steve Clark and Elaine Wilson were a wonderful comic pairing as Kevin and his ridiculously doting wife Maggie – smart casting here.
As the team’s star player Alex, Kieran McGarry had a strong air or arrogance and was unforgivably dismissive of his date (for that day). nervous and unsure Sharon, a lovely portrayal by Abi Bryson.
The game appears to be the only thing binding this unlikely ensemble together as we quickly gather that Harris’s characters are caught up in comic situations entirely of their own making. The Players did a great job of stepping up the levels of ridicule as the action infolded – the characters became more and more irritating! An apt and entertaining production, well done to all involved.