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Blackadder - the Elizabethan Years

Date

21st October 2017

Society

Berwick-upon-Tweed Amateur Operatic Society

Venue

The Maltings, Berwick

Type of Production

Play

Director

Mark Fleeson

Report

Author: Gordon Richardson

Blackadder was a staple television sitcom diet in the mid 1980’s whose humour has spanned the years and is as fresh today as then. Berwick OS’s rendition of the ‘Elizabethan Years’ (series 2 of the sitcom), with the well known and loved characters from the sitcom brought to life on stage, certainly lived up to expectations for the audience.

The somewhat ‘dim-witted’ and ‘slow’ manservant, Baldrick, was played by Michael McClean in a suitably ‘hang-dog’ demeanour; Lord Percy’s almost childlike character was well explored by Simon Landels; Lord Melchett’s pompous character was well caught by Jim Herbert; Kate/Bob the destitute lady earning her living as a ‘male’ manservant and love interest to Blackadder was well played by Laura Catterall; Lord and Lady Whiteadder (played by Stuart Faed and Angela Winson respectively) were wonderfully puritanical with a penchant for displaying displeasure by slapping their nephew.

With thirty people on stage it is difficult to single out everyone but each and every one played their roles well from the children playing the younger versions of the main characters, through ladies in waiting, Kates father, Queens messenger, drinking partners, doctors, crones, and wise woman.
Also playing their role well were the stage crew as they moved from scene to scene effortlessly with the time between scenes being filled with suitable music based upon the iconic Blackadder theme tune and a chorus of Strumpets singing imaginative lyrics – well done. Also a special mention to the costumiers for authentic looking costumes

Leading the Royal connection was Nicola Stebbing as Queen Elizabeth I who really captured all the nuances of her TV counterpart so much so it was almost like watching Miranda Richardson on stage. Wendy Ward - her ‘Nursie’ (aka Bernard) – also embodied the dry humour of her TV counterpart.
Making the maximum use of his time on stage as Lord Flashheart was David Simpson who shone at the cameo role of the totally OTT womaniser.

Completing the line-up was Bill Shardlow – he excelled in his role as the bitter acerbic title role of Lord Blackadder – his chemistry whilst playing alongside the other characters was second to none and, even when things went wrong with the odd technical issue resulting in some ‘corpsing’ of cast members, he kept in character much to the delight of the audience.
Well done Berwick OS – a superb production.