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Stumped to find anything remotely funny about this Outside Edge!



Review by David Munro

I REMEMBER a rather pleasant amusing sit-com, starring Robert Daws and Brenda Blethyn, about an amateur cricket team and its misfortunes. Outside Edge is the play which begot the series; from last night’s performance, the child was far better entertainment than its parent.

Whether or not Outside Edge, which deals with the foibles of a local cricket team and the relationships of the players with their womenfolk, is basically a funny play I cannot judge from what I sat through last night.

Certainly not with its current cast, whose celebrity status, as soap stars, did not translate well to the stage.

The only one who seemed to have any idea how to play comedy was Sabina Franklin, in the Brenda Blethyn part of the put-upon wife of the club secretary, whose performance she clearly emulated.

The rest of the cast mugged and hammed their way through the evening, destroying any semblance of reality or humour demanded by the situations which were themselves clichéd; the men being suspected by their wives of using the teams away matches for infidelity, and the men claiming their wives misunderstood them, or didn’t understand them while, at the same time, exploiting them.

To be fair, the audience, or some of them, found the evening amusing although I noticed there were a number who left in the interval.

The gentle idiosyncrasies of the English devotion to sport can be very funny if played by a team of expert farceurs, all of whom play together and don’t use the play as an excuse to inflate their own egos, or coast through the evening relying on a reputation they have obtained elsewhere to satisfy the audience.

I fully accept I may be in a minority of one over this, and so will not continue to labour the point other than to say, as you will have gathered by now, I was far from bowled over by Outside Edge and I wish I could have been run out of the theatre rather than having to sit through the entire innings of this, for me, relentlessly unfunny play.

Outside Edge, by Richard Harris.
Director, Ian Dickens; Design, David North; Lighting, David North;
Sound, Tony Davies.
CAST: Craig Fairbrass; Robert Duncan; Frazer Hines; Glenda McKay; Sabina Franklyn; Anita Graham; John Rose; Claire Marlowe.
Produced by Ian Dickens Productions.
Richmond Theatre , The Green, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 1OJ
Mon, Aug 30 – Sat, Sept 4, 2004. Evenings: 7.45pm; Matinees: Wed & Sat: 2.30pm
Box Office: 020 8940 0088.

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