Following the success of Henley Amateur Operatic Dramatic Society’s (HAODS) dinner in the round show of ‘Allo ‘Allo last year, this week they are performing four of the ionic Blackadder II episodes in the show Welcome to Blackadder’s Lodgings in the HAODS studio (next to the Kenton Theatre).
The episodes from series 2 from 1986 are set in England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558–1603), and sees the principal character, Edmund, Lord Blackadder, as a Tudor courtier attempting to win the favour of the Queen while avoiding execution by decapitation.
The show opens with the episode Bells in which Edmund falls for his manservant and Flasheart plays the cad! The show also includes the episodes Head, Beer and Chains in which Blackadder is kidnapped and the Evil Prince Ludwig is unmasked. Edmund Blackadder is brilliantly played by Adam Howe and Barry Rosier who plays Baldrick completely immerses himself in this hilarious character. The other character we loved and had us in stitches was Mr Ploppy the jailor played by Neil Allen. The scripts are the original from the cult TV series with the jokes coming thick and fast. With a small performance space and changing area in the studio, there’s plenty of possible laughs too when the staging takes a wobble!
The costumes are all in true dramatic Blackadder style with many from the society’s only wardrobe but Queenie’s was especially made by Sacha Renie-Cook. The show of course would not be complete without that most recognisable of music provided by live minstrels! The royalties from each show are being donated to Comic Relief.
Steve Luscombe from the Golden Ball in Assendon provides the audience with Baldrick’s Turnip Surprise Banquet (with the surprise being that the turnip got away!)
Director Julie Huntington said, “We have had such a laugh doing this. All the characters are larger than life. Piers Burnell as Lord Flashheart and Prince Ludwig is particularly over the top it is untrue!”
Unfortunately, tickets are sold out to all the shows so you’ll have to book for the next production which will be a joint production with Henley Players (29 May – 1 June) about a warring Italian family.
Watch out for more details on the website at www.haods.org.