Classic TV comedy on stage

Costume comedy . . . South Otago Theatre Society’s Blackadder III cast (from left) Fraser McAtamney as Baldrick, Rhonda Barlow as Mrs Miggins, Nick Brook as Mr E. Blackadder and Warwick Taylor as Prince George. PHOTO: SELENA AITKEN-BOYLE

A CUNNING plan is afoot in South Otago this week.

TV comedy series Blackadder captivated audiences around the world during the 1980s with its blend of slapstick and sharp-witted historical comedy — laced with frills of poignancy.

Now South Otago Theatrical Society is bringing the show’s third series to life with a production of the stage version of the Regency-set palace romp.

Director Selena Aitken-Boyle said the show, written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, promised to be a raucous night out packed with classic bad-taste gags and laughter aplenty.

‘‘We’ve got an amazing group of actors attracted by the quality of the writing and humour in this play, and who are doing it full justice.

‘‘As always, we’re backed by our unrivalled wardrobe and backstage team, so we’re looking forward to truly putting on a show to remember.’’

It will run from November 18-26.

She said the society had previously staged Blackadder II, which had enjoyed a sell-out run.

‘‘Interest is high again, as everyone knows Blackadder and what it delivers for a great night out, so we’d encourage people to get in before it’s too late.’’

Blackadder the Third is set during the Georgian period, and sees lead character Edmund Blackadder serve as butler to the Prince Regent.

As always, the wily Blackadder, played by Nick Brook, is accompanied in his misadventures by perennial sidekick and dogsbody Baldrick, brought to life by Fraser McAtamney.

Warwick Taylor provides madcap humour as the outrageous and frequently unhinged Prince Regent, George.

Brook said he was just 13 when the original series came out, which he remembered fondly.

‘‘I think for those of our generation, there’s a little of Blackadder in all of us.

‘‘We still love it because of the licence he has to say what he really feels, and make us laugh at the same time,’’ he said.

‘‘There have been a lot of lines to learn, stuffed with simile and innuendo, but any actor would be delighted to land the role of Blackadder.

‘‘You might say I’m as happy as a squirrel, with plenty of nuts in his sack.’’

Evening performances at 7.30pm on November 18, 19, 24, 25 and 26 are accompanied by dessert. Tickets $40, and $35 concession.

A single matinee performance will also be staged, at 2.30pm on November 20, at $30/$25.