Black­ad­der back at Cam­bridge

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Con­sid­er­ing 2018 is the 100th an­niver­sary of the end of World War I, and that Cam­bridge is the cen­tre for Armistice ac­tiv­i­ties in New Zealand, it makes sense for Cam­bridge Repertory’s next pro­duc­tion to com­mem­o­rate the event.

The so­ci­ety is pre­sent­ing an ex­tended sea­son of an am­a­teur stage adap­ta­tion of the hit BBC com­edy, Black­ad­der Goes Forth.

Writ­ten by Richard Cur­tis and Ben El­ton, the show has been adapted for the stage by di­rec­tor Dave Stearns.

The cast in­cludes ex­pe­ri­enced ac­tors from Te Awa­mutu, Cam­bridge and Hamil­ton.

“We’ve taken four episodes from the orig­i­nal se­ries (Cor­po­ral Pun­ish­ment, Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal, Pri­vate Plane and Good­byee) and moved them around slightly to al­low for the com­plex­i­ties of trans­fer­ring a tele­vi­sion se­ries to a stage per­for­mance,” says Dave.

“Any­one fa­mil­iar with the pro­gramme will spot the dif­fer­ences, but oth­er­wise, this is a faith­ful in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the orig­i­nal.”

Al­though the char­ac­ters are well-es­tab­lished, the cast will bring their own in­ter­pre­ta­tions.

“This is not meant to be an ex­act im­per­son­ation of the orig­i­nal ac­tors,” says Dave.

The cast has five prin­ci­pal roles (Black­ad­der, Baldrick, Ge­orge, Dar­ling and Melchett) and six oth­ers who fill out the sup­port­ing roles of Nurse Mary, Smith, Perkins, the fir­ing squad, Gen­eral Haig, Bob and ev­ery­one’s favourite rogue, Lord Flash­heart.

Black­ad­der Goes Forth was the last full se­ries of the sit­com and orig­i­nally aired in Septem­ber to Novem­ber 1989.

“The wit and hu­mour are still sharp af­ter nearly 30 years, as is the satir­i­cal and poignant por­trayal of the fu­til­ity of war,” says Dave.

The ac­tion is set in the Bri­tish trenches of the Western Front in 1917 and chron­i­cles Black­ad­der’s at­tempts to es­cape the mad­ness of war, aided and abet­ted by up­per-class twit, Lt Ge­orge St Bar­leigh and the pro­foundly stupid Pri­vate Baldrick and his “cun­ning plans”.

The sea­son opens on Satur­day, Novem­ber 10, Armistice week­end in Cam­bridge to com­mem­o­rate the 100th an­niver­sary of the end of World War I, with an ad­di­tional mati­nee on Armistice Day it­self — Sun­day, Novem­ber 11 — at the one-off start time of 5.30pm to al­low for peo­ple to get from Kara¯piro Do­main to the Gaslight The­atre.

Due to high de­mand, the sea­son has been ex­tended to in­clude dates in De­cem­ber.

■ Ses­sion de­tails and tick­ets are avail­able from Cam­bridge Pa­per Plus or — meal and show and show only op­tions are avail­able.

Photo / Supplied

Cast of Cam­bridge Repertory’s forth­com­ing pro­duc­tion Black­ad­der Goes Forth in re­hearsal for open­ing on Armistice week­end.

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