Home   Haverhill   News   Article

Subscribe Now

Haverhill's Centre Stage Company has returned to the stage after a two-year absence



More news, no ads

LEARN MORE


More than two years late, due to Covid, Centre Stage Company finally bring their version of Richard Curtis and Ben Elton’s Blackadder to the Haverhill Arts Centre – and it is worth the wait, as David Hart found out.

This script takes three episodes from the second series of the 1980s TV hit, the Elizabethan one.

You might think replicating a 30-year-old sitcom an artistically pointless exercise, but when it is done well it can make for a highly enjoyable evening, as this talented group of actors prove.

Victoria Robson as Kate/Bob. Luke Allen as Baldrick and Graeme Johnston as Blackadder. Picture by Billie Fletcher (56913491)
Victoria Robson as Kate/Bob. Luke Allen as Baldrick and Graeme Johnston as Blackadder. Picture by Billie Fletcher (56913491)

And it is the actors who stand out here. Placed against fairly minimal settings and continually interrupted by the scene breaks so simple on TV and so difficult live on stage, they manage to recreate the original to a highly creditable degree.

Lord Melchett (Alan Davison), Prince Ludwig (Steve Murray) and Blackadder (Graeme Johnston) in Blackadder II. Picture by Billie Fletcher
Lord Melchett (Alan Davison), Prince Ludwig (Steve Murray) and Blackadder (Graeme Johnston) in Blackadder II. Picture by Billie Fletcher

Graeme Johnston, unenviably matched against Rowan Atkinson, captures the mix of vicious sarcasm and bored resignation in the title character, while Cian Harriss adds hilariously to a

long line of triumphs in idiocy as Lord Percy.

Denise Harriss imitates the babyish Queenie to a T, while Jackie Parker is equally adept at replicating Nursie.

Queenie (Denise Harriss) with Nursie (Jackie Parker) in Blackadder II. Picture by Billie Fletcher
Queenie (Denise Harriss) with Nursie (Jackie Parker) in Blackadder II. Picture by Billie Fletcher

Alan Davison makes a suitably pompous Melchett and Luke Allen a chirpy Baldrick.

Others of the cast turn their hands deftly to more than one role, notably Steve Murray as Ludwig and Flashheart, dominating his scene as the latter despite a less-than-flashy costume, no doubt necessitated by a lightning-quick change – such are the compromises of live theatre.

Victoria Robson, a lively Kate, Lorraine Taylor as Lady Farrow and Young Crone and Emma Letcher as Mrs Ploppy and the Wise Woman bring exactly the right broad brush to their roles, while there is more excellent support from Richard Clarson and Adam Thurkettle in other crucial minor roles.

Baldrick and Blackadder in the Centre Stage Company's production, Blackadder II. Picture by Billie Fletcher
Baldrick and Blackadder in the Centre Stage Company's production, Blackadder II. Picture by Billie Fletcher

Director Sarah Simpson grapples with the challenges of the piece well and has rightly decided to give the spotlight to her excellent team of players.

This highly entertaining show continues nightly until Saturday and tickets are still available.