Wednesday, March 18, 2009


CTW at the Old Court


Did you do something funny for Red Nose Day ?

Some of Chelmsford's finest actors were on stage at the Old Court, in the travesty of Tudor England that is Blackadder Live.

Like 'Allo 'Allo, at the Civic next month, the show comes with high audience expectations – the original performances [and many of the classic gags] being burned into the collective consciousness.

Edmund Blackadder was David Chilvers, a confident, stylish reincarnation which managed to bring something of himself to the character,as did Mark Preston as the hapless Baldrick, the butt of much of the physical humour, forever sacrificing his dignity and his bodily fluids to the greater good.

Among the many other larger than life characters were Kenton Church's Percy, Robin Winder's legless Rum, Ben Fraser's debonair Raleigh, Sara Nower's knitting Nursie, and of course Lionel Bishop making the most of the flamboyant Flashheart. Last word to Christine Davidson, who contributes two contrasting caricatures, the wisewoman and the puritan. Ruth Cramphorn's Kate ["Bob"] looked good in both guises, and Rebecca Errington was a splendidly petulant Queenie. Great character opportunities were gleefully seized by Vince Webb as Leech, Sarah Bell as the Young Crone and Simon Thomas as Kate's Dad, who has the key role of kicking off the plot. Kevin Stemp brought some gravitas to "the creep" Melchett.

Dean Hempstead's pacy production got lots of belly laughs from the capacity audience, despite the endless scene changes, which gave us the chance to enjoy various ancient airs, but added considerably to the running time, and made it nigh on impossible to build the hilarity as Curtis and Elton intended. The setting was simple, but the costumes, by Tony Brett, added authenticity to these three comic tales.

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