Innings & outing! Drama in Alton

Round & About

Outside Edge is this month’s highlight from Alton Operatic Society. But how much does art imitate real life? Peter Anderson goes in to bat and find out…

Cricket, comedy and chaos are promised this month as Alton Operatic and Dramatic Society presents Outside Edge by Richard Harris. The plot? Roger is having trouble getting a team together for the afternoon’s fixture against the British Railways Maintenance Division Yeading East but this proves to be the least of anyone’s worries. It would appear bowling maidens on the pitch is not the problem, but rather his players’ relationships with their individual maidens outside of the game!

Yes; Bob is having marriage trouble as he is still doing odd jobs for his ex-wife behind his current wife Ginnie’s back. Dennis is also having marital trouble as his wife seems intent on moving to a new house despite the fact they only moved recently. When he finally puts his foot down she sets fire to his new car. Kevin is trying to fight off his over-affectionate wife Maggie while at the same time nurse his injured spinning finger and Alex’s new girlfriend ends up shutting herself in the toilets having hysterics. Even Roger’s seemingly perfect marriage to Miriam hits the skids when she discovers he was playing away from home – in more ways than one – on a trip to Dorking last year…

So, with a demanding role needing a knowledge of cricket and what it is like to captain the village cricket team, did they have a challenge to cast it? No, it would seem – rather one of Alton’s members seemed somehow destined to play the part. Richard Seeckts plays Roger and he has been playing village cricket in some shape or form since the age of 13 in 1979, curiously the exact same year Outside Edge was first performed. He has continued to play for various teams including the Surrey Cryptics whom he captained for some time and, more recently, Holybourne CC. One move Roger was never able to make was bringing his son in to make up the numbers; Richard’s son Toby has proved himself very able and the two regularly play for Holybourne’s Second XI who have kindly lent the play some equipment.

Richard says: “It goes without saying that Outside Edge combines my love of the stage with that of cricket. The parallels between the stage characters and some players and their wives I have known through the years are, variously, uncanny, and uncomfortable. For all its ‘near the bone-ness’ I might have kept well away when the play was announced but, hopefully, those who have known and played cricket with me will acknowledge some differences between Roger and Richard!”

Outside Edge will be performed at Alton Assembly Rooms on 8th, 9th & 10th November. For further info and to book visit