Blackadder and Baldrick All Set to Go Forth in Newport

April 27, 2015

Some of TV’s most iconic comic characters are set to tread the boards of the Dolman Theatre when Newport Playgoers present ‘Blackadder Goes Forth’ in May.

Blackadder (Steve Drowley) listens as Baldrick (Gordon Collins) explains yet another “cunning plan” to escape the frontline. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Blackadder (Steve Drowley) listens as Baldrick (Gordon Collins) explains yet another “cunning plan” to escape the frontline. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Based on the fourth and final series of the BBC hit comedy, this play has the recurring characters of Blackadder, Baldrick and George scheming to get out of the trenches in Flanders during WWI.

General Melchett & Captain Darling thwart their efforts in their own bumbling style, while other memorable characters include the Red Baron, Flashheart and Bob.

Baldrick (Gordon Collins), George (James Symonds), Melchett (Peter Bourne) and Blackadder (Steve Drowley) discuss tactics. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Baldrick (Gordon Collins), George (James Symonds), Melchett (Peter Bourne) and Blackadder (Steve Drowley) discuss tactics. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Recreating an undisputed TV classic – whose characters were made memorable by some of the most enduring names in British comedy –  would be a daunting mission for most amateur theatre companies. But Playgoers have a great track record of bringing popular sitcoms to life on the stage. Previous successes include ‘The Vicar of Dibley’,‘Allo ‘Allo, ‘Fawlty Towers’ and ‘Dad’s Army’.

Lord Flashheart (Ryan Hillier) wastes no time in getting to know new recruit “Bob” (Catherine Morgan) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Lord Flashheart (Ryan Hillier) wastes no time in getting to know new recruit “Bob” (Catherine Morgan) (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

“As well as being classic comedy, this revival of ‘Blackadder Goes Forth’ is timely with this year being both the centenary of the start of World War One and the 25th anniversary of when the show first aired on TV, said the play’s director Rosemary Bissex.

“Amid all the jokes and satire in the original script by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton, the final scene where our heroes finally go over the top is a classic, truly emotional TV moment,” she added.

Baldrick (Gordon Collins), George (James Symonds), Melchett (Peter Bourne) and Blackadder (Steve Drowley) discuss tactics. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Baldrick (Gordon Collins), George (James Symonds), Melchett (Peter Bourne) and Blackadder (Steve Drowley) discuss tactics. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

The play is packed with wit and humour but it also has the power to make audiences reflect on the indiscriminate waste of so many lives – all those naive Baldricks, the patriotic Georges and the world-weary Blackadders who never returned from the Great War.

‘Blackadder Goes Forth’ is at the Dolman Theatre from 13 – 16 May at 7.15 pm with a matinee performance on the Saturday at 2.30 pm. For more information or to book tickets call 01633 263670 or visit www.dolmantheatre.co.uk.

Previous Playgoers' productions of TV classics: 'The Vicar of Dibley', 'Dad's Army', 'Fawlty Towers' and 'Allo 'Allo. (PHOTOS: PHIL MANSELL)

Previous Playgoers’ productions of TV classics: ‘The Vicar of Dibley’, ‘Dad’s Army’, ‘Fawlty Towers’ and ‘Allo ‘Allo. (PHOTOS: PHIL MANSELL)

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Big Band Swings into Action to Raise the Roof – and Repair It!

April 23, 2015

Raising the roof in order to repair it! That’s the aim of an evening of big band music being held at the Dolman Theatre on Saturday 9 May.

Talented vocalist Phil Lee Thomas will be performing with the Swingcopation Chepstow Community Big Band at the Dolman Theatre. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

Talented vocalist Phil Lee Thomas will be performing with the Swingcopation Chepstow Community Big Band at the Dolman Theatre. (PHOTO: PHIL MANSELL)

The Swingcopation Chepstow Community Big Band will swing into action to lead the fund-raiser with their resident vocalists, Nataley Simpson and Phil Lee-Thomas, whom audiences will have seen recently in Newport Playgoers’ production of the Noel Coward classic ‘Waiting in the Wings’.

“The Dolman Theatre roof is desperately in need of repair and renovation,” said Phil Mansell, spokesperson for Playgoers who own and run the 400-seat theatre.

“This concert is the latest of several fund-raising events held to raise the necessary money to carry out the work. It’s sure to be a great evening of swing music performed by this great band which comprises music students from Wyedean School in Chepstow, several other local schools and from the wider community. They have appeared at many local festivals and venues from the Cotswolds to Cardiff. As well as great music there a hog roast – and audience members are being urged to dress to impress!”

Steve Bissex-Williams (centre) raised £970 with his show ‘This Is My Life’. Pictured with him are his guest performers Kevin Myers, Chris Bissex-Williams, Phil Lee Thomas  and Eloise Rossiter.

Steve Bissex-Williams (centre) raised £970 with his show ‘This Is My Life’. Pictured with him are his guest performers Kevin Myers, Chris Bissex-Williams, Phil Lee Thomas and Eloise Rossiter.

He added that the band’s motto, ‘Enjoy and Achieve’, reflects the fact that the focus is on fun while reaching high performance standards.

At another recent fund-raiser, Steve Bissex-Williams raised an amazing £970 towards the upkeep of the theatre’s roof with his one man show ‘This Is My Life’. A mixture of songs, reminiscences and special guests added up to a truly entertaining evening in the Dolman foyer.

Swingcopation will be performing at 7.30pm on Saturday 9 May at the Dolman Theatre. Tickets, which cost £20 (including food) should be booked in advance at the the box office by phoning 01633 263670 or by visiting www.dolmantheatre.co.uk.