Rising Damp, Wimborne Rep at the Tivoli

RISING Damp, the ITV series broadcast in the mid 1970s, has been judged as one of the greatest television comedies of all time.

It started as a play by Eric Chappell, who then adapted it for television, starring Leon­ard Rossiter, Frances de la Tour, Richard Beckinsale and Don Warrington. Only Beck­in­sale was not in the original play.

That’s the background. Now Dramatic Productions has chosen the play for the second show of the 2019 Wim­borne Rep season at the Tivoli Theatre, with two final performances on Saturday 3rd August.

Tracy Jame Murrey’s production captures all the un-PC fun of the series, but if you want an impersonation of the television actors (as one woman said on her way out) you will inevitably be disappointed.

What you do get is four excellent performances, from Russell Biles as the dreadful Rigsby, Sean Pogmore as the nervy virgin in the Permissive Society Alan, Taj-Levi Matthews (fresh from AUB) as the faux African Prince and Beverly Beck making marvellous moments as Ruth Jones.

The first two Wimborne Rep shows have provided terrific entertainment in a difficult summer, when everyone is nervy and the weather has threatened heat stroke or flooding for those brave enough to venture out.

Companies depend on word of mouth to get their message out. Let’s hope that the excellence of the acting and production encourage larger audiences for the final show, Agatha Christie’s Love from a Stranger, on from 8th to 10th August. Wimborne Rep 2020 should build on this years’ success in a more peaceful climate. I’m looking forward to it already.


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