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"Odd Ball Out" Photos




"ODD BALL OUT" features two old school friends meeting for an oddly uncomfortable reunion. Gradually we learn that one is gay and the other - while not prejudiced himself, of course - is delivering a message from the community that his old friend is not welcome. It is the straight man's character and values that are dissected here, as he exposes a homophobia and closed-mindedness that he at least has the grace to be embarrassed by.

Dave Marsden and Pat Abernethy play off each other skilfully, keeping the emotional tension high while also permitting the situation's dark comedy to emerge.

The play takes the route from light-hearted laughter to confrontational revelation. Norm wants to warn Merv that because Merv has never come out of the closet, speculation about him has run riot and led to the local Residents Association branding him as a suspected paedophile. Laffan highlights the cruel inconsistencies of a society which has grown more tolerant of peoples sexuality yet is less accepting of their privacy. Convincing and powerful.

"ODD BALL OUT" is the intriguing story of two men, Norm(Marsden) and Merv(Abernethy), friends since their school days. Norm has arranged a meeting in the park with his old pal: egged on by calls to his mobile phone, he has a mission to find out what Merv has been up to, but is tense about tackling the issue. Merv is keen to preserve his privacy and skirts round the questions.

Can Norm eventually get to the bottom of Merv's secret life, and who is pushing him to find out? Marsden plays nervous Norm perfectly against Abernethy's calm and collected but increasingly irritated Merv. These polished performances underpin a sparkling study of the doubts and prejudices any of us could face.


Two middle-aged men meet at a park bench. One is going through a stack of newspapers, devouring sports pages, the other is wearing a sackcloth robe and eating an out-of-date sandwich scavenged from the back of a supermarket.

They bicker on a range of everyday issues such as pollution and the meaning of life. Nothing too strange about that, had the latter not served an out-of-date moussaka from the same supermarket to the Prime Minister himself some days ago.

He is a newly estranged husband of an M.P. Both men have left their wives as a matter of political principal and are brothers in arms, championing their downtrodden masculinity.

Kevin Laffan's play is witty and engaging, and Pat Abernethy and in particular Dave Marsden's performances are inspired. The Tai Chi bits add visually comic refreshment, and this tale would have probably made an outstanding radio play.

These plays have been performed as a double bill at the following:

Edinburgh Festival 2001
Wimbledon Studio Theatre 2001
The Space Arts Centre, London
Wimbledon Studio Theatre 2002 (return by popular demand)

"The Husband's Tale" Photos