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Blackadder the Third

Date

22nd November 2018

Society

Grantham Dramatic Society

Venue

Guildhall Arts Centre, Grantham

Type of Production

Play

Director

Mark Brown & Allison Allen

Producer

Tony Hine

Report

Author: Peter Breach

This was one of a series of British sitcoms that was shown on BBC television in 1987. Each series was set in a different historical period and although certain characters from those periods appeared, the main characters were supposedly descended from those in the previous series. With the passage of time each Blackadder character became more clever and perceptive, though their status was reduced, whilst the Baldrick characters were drawn from the future offspring of that family who became less intelligent and possessed a lower standard of personal hygiene. Can you believe it?

The play, written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, is set in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and includes coverage of three episodes.                                                                               

The cast:-   Mr Will Clamp - Mr Edmund Blackadder , butler to the Prince                                                                                                                                                                                          Mr Stephen Marsland – Baldrick, a dogsbody                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mr Paul Meakin – Prince George, their master                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mrs Rosemary Gibson – Mrs Miggins, a coffee shoppekeeper                                                                                                                                                                                        Coffee shoppe customers – Mr Daniele Petruzzo & Ms Ellie Johnson                                                                                

Nob and Nobility      Ms Sharon Hurrell – Lord Topper, a fop                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Mr Lee Johnson – Lord Smedley, a fop                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Mr John Such -  Ambassador, a fearsome revolutionary                                                                                                              

In this episode Blackadder makes a wager with Lord Topper that he can rescue an aristocrat for 1,000 Guineas.

 Sense and Senility  Mr Lee Johnson – Mr Enoch Mossop, Thespian                                                                                                                                                                                                                Mr Phil Wilson – Mr David Keanrick, Thespian                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mr John Such – Anarchist                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mr Daniel Petruzzo & Ms Klaire Gadsby – Guards                                                                                                                                 

In this episode Blackadder writes a speech to improve the Prince’s public image but is not happy with the Prince’s choice of actors to advise him on how to present it.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Duel and Duality      Mr Bryan Scatchard -  the Duke of Wellington, a famous soldier                                                                                                                                                                                     Mr Nick Croft – MacAdder, a mad madman                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Mr Andy Antony – King George III, a mad Monarch                                                                                                                                                                                                         Mr Daniele Petruzzo – the announcer for the mad Monarch 

In this episode the Duke of Wellington promises to kill the Prince as he has associated with the Duke’s nieces.  Baldrick devises a cunning plan in which Blackadder will take the Prince’s place in the duel but Blackadder intends to have his mad Scottish cousin MacAdder take his place.   

Cunning plans, comedic quips and caustic comments featured frequently in this production which had good pace and was well rehearsed, how else could the barbed insults be so effectively delivered or the ritual to exorcise the spirit offended by mentioning of the Scottish play by name be repeatedly performed? The set design freed up a good amount of stage space which facilitated plenty of movement, thus ensuring that the detailed costumes were well displayed. The detonation of an anarchist’s bomb in the theatre balcony was most effective in startling the audience! Unlike many versions of TV programmes that are presented on stage, hardly any time was spent “going to black”. When it was necessary for actors to enter or exit the stage for short periods they could either retire to the Coffee shoppe or move to a vacant part of the stage.

Congratulations to all who were involved in this show, the sustained applause you received at the close of it was well deserved.