OUTSIDE EDGE

Date 17th February 2024
Society Phoenix Players Luton
Venue TADS Theatre, Toddington
Type of Production Play
Director Malcolm Farrar

Report

Author: Nova Horley

It was lovely to see Phoenix Players back in action, with the redoubtable Malcolm Farrar at the helm.

Outside Edge was a good choice, as it only required a static set, which gave the cast plenty of room to move around on a compact stage.   Lighting was suitable for the piece, and sound effects were good, I particularly liked the iconic music which set the scene well, and the sound of birdsong in the background.

The actors all projected well, with a nod to their different characters, in which was a very funny play.

Costumes were suitable for the characters, and the cricket whites were pristine – maybe a bit too good for a Sunday cricket club who had probably been wearing the same whites for a number of seasons, but nonetheless a good comparison to the every day wear of the cast.

Alan Purton played Roger, the driven captain, trying desperately to keep his unruly team in order, whilst juggling the batting order continually, and bullying his wife.  A good portrayal that kept the general ambience of the piece going, plenty of ups and downs in his delivery, nicely done.

I thought Hazel Jacobs as Miriam, was the glue that held everyone together, she had good relationships with all the other characters, and whilst her delivery was mainly studied and fairly quiet, you could tell she was the mainstay for everyone – I liked this portrayal very much.

Craig Hiepner as Bob, in his first main role in a play, showed a good understanding of the role, and plenty of expression.  He played the drunken side of Bob well, but maybe sobered up a little too quickly when he went in to bat, but it is always a little difficult to gauge timelines.  A very good portrayal, which I think will lead the way to more parts in future!

Sarah Albert as Bob’s wife Ginnie was the epitome of a posh bird who understood her husband only too well.  A different part for Sarah, who is an experienced performer, and brought both elegance and irony to Ginnie, very well-achieved.

Barry Hyde was Dennis, the self-styled wheeler dealer of the group – a very well-drawn character, I was impressed with Barry’s portrayal, he fully immersed himself in Dennis, and gave a very good performance.

I loved the relationship between Scott Newman and Victoria O’Reilly, as Kevin and Maggie, their role reversal and resulting personas were so well done – Victoria is a good actor and Scott gave probably the best performance I have witnessed him do – a very good partnership.

Lovely to see Andre Newman back on stage, playing Alex the high-rolling solicitor, seeing himself as a little above the rest of the team in both status and ability, which he achieved well.  In a good pairing Emily Albert played Sharon his new girlfriend, with shyness and charm, whilst looking beautiful and giving us a completely different persona, I thought they played well off each other, and loved Emily’s acting out of her need for the toilet.  A good foil to the other couples.

All in all a good version of this amusing play with the diverse characters interacting well.

My thanks to Phoenix Players for their hospitality and good to see them back on stage again.

Nova Horley                     NODA Representative - NODA East District 3

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