Theatre Review: Outside Edge by Burnley Garrick

A classic cricketing comedy about clubhouse capers in Middle England had audiences bowled over.

Outside Edge
Outside Edge

Outside Edge brought new meaning to the phrase “leg over wicket” as the Garrick stepped up to the crease to perform Richard Harris’s popular play.

The cheeky tale of life, love and dysfunctional relationships at a suburban cricket club brought waves of laughter to the ACE Centre – and certainly smashed a few boundaries.

The play, popularised by a 1990s TV show starring Brenda Blethyn, Timothy Spall and Robert Daws, focuses on a team of mediocre middle aged cricketers and their long-suffering wives.

Club captain Roger is obsessed by the game and, alongside his dutiful wife Miriam who provides the afternoon teas, plans for the day’s match with rivals British Railways Maintencance Division Yeading East.

Batsman Bob turns up, torn between his first wife and his second wife Ginnie but finds himself on a sticky wicket when she arrives unannounced to see him play.

Dennis the suave-talking, randy old letch will try it on with anyone in the pavilion – even formidable bricklayer Maggie who is the larger-than-life new wife of mummy’s boy Kevin.

Toff solicitor Alex is determined to hit 50 showing off to his latest squeeze and poledancer Sharon.

Extra-marital shenanigans, male rivalries and relationship breakdowns among the main characters soon supercede the cricket with hilarious consequences.

Neil Tranmer put on a brilliant display as captain Roger which was matched by on-stage wife Miriam, played by Susan Mullen.

Roger is enthusiastic and fastidious and Miriam prim and proper. The pair appear the perfect married couple - but the veneer of lovey-dovey harmony soon slips.

Ken Entwistle gives a memorable performance as Bob who turns up at the game drunk and gets more and more drunk, outspoken and belligerent.

Witty one line quips between Bob and disgruntled wife Ginnie, played by Pauline Hartley, had the crowd laughing.

But it was the hilarious dynamic between Kevin (Stephen Dixon) and Maggie (Angela Foulds) that really had the audience in stitches.

Foulds as Maggie, clad in high heels, fur coat and leopard skin leggings, looked and sounded like something from Only Fools and Horses and commanded the stage. She was domineering, strong and masculine and Dixon was precious and mollycoddled in a laugh-a-minute tole reversal.

The couple bickered, sniped, smooched and flirted in the most slapstick of fashions.

The whole performance proved a match-winning innings that hit the audience for six!