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    Outside Edge by Richard Harris

February 2006  


Ashby Dramatic Society got the New Year off to a good start with this comedy by Richard Harris.

The setting for Outside Edge is village cricket, played to a low standard but in deadly earnest by the local team. However, marital harmony is the real focus, and three relationships in particular: Roger Dervish, cricket club captain, with his under-appreciated wife Miriam, spin-bowler Kevin and his zesty wife Maggie and the unfaithful Bob and his sun-loving wife Ginnie.

Roger, chauvinistic and self-important, speaks brusquely and patronisingly to Mim because, bereft of sensitivity, he knows no other way. Besides, he probably reasons, Mim not only expects him to crack the whip but respects it. Roger demands maximum spousal co-operation in exchange for only the very occasional cheek-peck or 'Love you' sentiment called out in her general direction. (When angry, this becomes 'love you, okay, fair enough' through gritted teeth.) To hurry Mim along, Roger barks 'chop chop', oblivious to her annoyance. Mim's problem is that she is sorepressed that this anger stands no chance of being forcefully expressed. She knows her place: she makes the cricket-match teas (meaning not just tea but sandwiches and much more), serving the food on trestle tables she herself has erected. She rushes around as Roger's lap-dog, doing his bidding while perpetually biting her lip to help keep the wheels oiled. For all its apparent eddies, Kevin and Maggie's relationship is much the more fulfilling and mutual, each recognising the other'sstrengths and weaknesses. Maggie loves Kevin to pieces and is his biggest fan, realising and indeed nurturing the little boy trapped inside her man. Nothing defeats Maggie - she's a massively capable woman in a massive furry coat, with boundless energy.

The cricket team, a bunch of ageing Lotharios, wife-cheaters and drinkers who care little for their captain Roger's fussy organising, fight among themselves, hold out for the batting positions of their choice and are not averse to running one another out while at the wicket.



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