Review: Fast Bowling in Sharpness

A COMEDY about cricket and modern manners was the unusual but highly successful choice for the latest production by the Berkeley Amateur Dramatic Society at Sharpness Village Hall.

‘Outside Edge’ by Richard Harris is set in the 1970s and the action revolves around the skipper’s attempts to raise a full team for the latest match, while all around him chaos is unfolding in the personal lives of his players - and himself.

You may remember a production of the play on television which was also made into a successful sitcom.

Captain Roger was played by BADS regular, Bob Hunt, who thoroughly captured the obsessive and obnoxious sides of the character and who brought to the role many a surprise.

His long-suffering wife Miriam was played by Bev Graham; Miriam is the real power behind the skipper’s throne, and her superb performance held the whole production together.

In this sharp comedy particular mention must be made of Helen Gilbert as Maggie, a no-nonsense northerner, and her husband Kevin, played by John Greenwood.

Their well-honed timing and relaxed stage presence created a believable and very funny couple. Some of the dialogue is quite sexist for modern tastes, but this pair found just the right level of irony in it to combat any discomfort.

Another BADS stalwart, Tony Cullimore, played the anxious, superstitious and, in modern parlance, “handy” Dennis to great and alarming effect, while relative newcomer Sue O’Driscoll embraced the role of Sharon and was brilliant as the fish-out-of-water nervous new girlfriend of star club cricketer Alex.

George Knight gave a finely-judged performance as the villainous Alex, self-absorbed and complacent, to whom everything comes easily and no one seems to matter.

Tigre Coleman, in a taut portrayal as Ginny, landed her sharp, edgy dialogue with compelling vitriol while Tim Knight as Ginny’s weary husband Bob, in a confident and impressive debut for BADS, toyed with our emotions, inspiring in turn suspicion, pity, and sympathy.

The quick-fire bickering between Bob and Ginny was played with mesmerising naturalism.

Pete Gilbert constructed the fiendishly complicated set and he should be particularly congratulated for the production’s sound effects - we were convincingly transported to the midst of a local cricket match, which played on regardless, despite the mayhem and anarchy developing in the pavilion and beyond.

Outside Edge is an ambitious, fast-paced, complex piece for any group and it was deftly put together in this production by Producer/Director Vera Boobyer.

This small and enthusiastic amateur dramatic society delivers something fresh and new in every performance. News of their next production will be eagerly awaited.

Review by Nellie Billington

(Standing in for Tim Tynan)