Blackadder at Motcombe

Motcombe Village Hall

IT’S quite an undertaking for a brand new theatre group to perform two of the best known episodes in a cult hit television comedy for their first outing, but Pieshop Productions was set up to do just that.

The performers, mostly from north Dorset and south Somerset, were thrilled at the chance to perform Bells and Head, two episodes from Blackadder II, by special permission of writer Richard Curtis and in aid of the charity he set up with Lenny Henry, Comic Relief. A bit like the Rocky Horror Show, it’s a script that is familiar to the millions of fans around the world, and so a performance can only go so far to change the original.

At Motcombe Village Hall last week, director Martin Porter put his own spin on the stories with new and hilarious words for the songs, sung falsetto by Sam Skey accompanied by his mandolin.

There were some powerfully funny performances, notably by Kate Kirkpatrick, out Richardsoning Miranda as Queenie, company co-founder Natalie Bourchier as a confident Kate/Bob, Eoin Brew as Lord Percy, John Roberts-Davies as Baldrick and Alex Chase in the title role. Steven Bennett and Myra Wood were wonderfully repellent as the Ploppys and the rest of the cast joined in the fun.

The big problem was the staging. Motcombe Hall has a tiny stage, and there was just too much stuff by way of props and scenery. The audience should have been allowed to imagine the scenes, or perhaps backdrops could have been used. As it was the changes were cumbersome, and at times positively dangerous.

Queenie’s magnificent costume, created at Semley by Glad Rags, was not suited to the clamber on and off the stage.

But it was all huge fun, and should have raised lots of cash for the very worthy cause. Look out for more Pieshop shows. GP-W

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