Repertory goes back in black

Blackadder: The Golden Age cast members Maggie Pirie, who is playing Queen Elizabeth I (Queenie) and Callum Fowler, Lord Edmund Blackadder, in the Invercargill production from March 17 to 20.

BLACKADDER is returning to the Invercargill stage.

Production manager Phillie Holmes said ‘‘this is the largest-scale production Repertory Invercargill has produced for quite some time, and we can’t wait for Invercargill to see what we’ve been working on.’’

Scriptwriter and director Jason Fraser wrote The Golden Age script by ‘‘mashing together’’ four episodes from the BBC Blackadder television series.

It took him a year to research and write and the script had been approved by representatives of the show’s writers, Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, he said.

‘‘I picked all the crazy characters, and nicked all the best jokes and punchlines.

‘‘It has the essence of the TV series as all the well-known quotes and innuendos are used, but we also let the actors take their own take on it.

‘‘My challenge for Blackadder fans, was which episode is it in.’’

Six of the 17-strong cast covering 28 roles were women, which was unusual for a Blackadder production, Holmes said.

The cast included Callum Fowler as Lord Edmund Blackadder, Maggie Pirie as Queen Elizabeth I (Queenie), Neil McDonald as Blackadder’s ‘‘dungball in a dress’’ Baldrick and
accompanied by Travis Luke as ‘‘bird-brained dimwit’’ Lord Percy, Percy, heir to the Duchy of Northumberland.

Popular entertainer Michael Buick will play Lord Melehett, while Lyndal Ludlow is Nursie and Ashleigh Reid is Mollie.

For regular theatre-goers, Peter Taylor would be playing Doctor Leech.

The story kind of goes…

‘‘Lord Edmund Blackadder, the bxxxxxd great-great grandson of the repulsive original Prince (King) Edmund Plantagenet, is reasonably normal — until he meets a manservant
named Bob.

‘‘All the while trouble is in store for Edmund as the baby-eating Bishop of Bath and Wells (David McMeeking) drops by unexpectedly…’’

Financially fickle, Blackadder receives a letter from his ‘‘fanatically puritan aunt, Lady Whiteadder (Victoria Mills) wishing to discuss his inheritance over supper’’… which leads to him losing his inheritance, and having to entertain the Queen, arrange a wedding, and so forth.

‘‘A plan so cunning that you could brush your teeth with it, needs to be devised!’’

Fraser said there had been much laughter during rehearsals and he hoped to produce another Blackadder — Blackadder III in the future.

Due to the content and language, Blackadder: The Golden Age had a mature rating.

– Blackadder: The Golden Age, Invercargill Repertory at Centrestage Theatre, Don St, Wednesday, March 17, to Saturday, March 20. Tickets: Adults, $41.50, students and seniors $31.50, from Southland Chamber of Commerce, SIT Arcade, ILT Stadium
Southland or through Ticketek.