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Enjoyment reigned with Blackadder’s safe return

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HER destitute father tried to persuade her to become a prostitute, but instead Kate dressed up as a boy and went off to find her fortune in London.

28 November 2016. Submitted pic. Blackadder rides again with the Queen's Hall Theatre Group.
28 November 2016. Submitted pic. Blackadder rides again with the Queen's Hall Theatre Group.

The rest became television history after Lord Edmund Blackadder declared ‘I find you curiously pleasant company to be with, Bob’. But at the weekend, the Queen’s Hall Theatre Club planted the flag for the stage version.

Laughter? Lots of it. And what’s more, the characters were played to within a hair’s-breadth of the original.

Emily MacDonald, known to a generation of Queen Elizabeth High School pupils as their drama teacher, deserves special mention indeed for her portrayal of Queenie, the temperamental ruler with all the awareness of a toddler.

“Father used to laugh at those funny men with the bells,” she said, looking at Baldrick. “Jesters?” asked Lord Melchett. “No, lepers.”

The character of Baldrick was safe in the hands of the multi-talented Robin Jowett. And then, well, as for Nursie, Janet Beakes played an absolute blinder. A superb performance!

Peter Cooke, as Lord Melchett, Richard Gardner, as Lord Flashheart, Kevin Jones, particularly in his role as the torturer, and Peter Kitson, as Blackadder himself, all deserve honourable mention, but the Queen’s Hall Theatre Club is a good group generally, with a cast as strong as it comes in the world of amateur dramatics.

It also has a highly seasoned crew behind the scenes, used to turning a production round on a sixpence. Director Moya Holmes surpassed herself this time though by making all of the costumes – some of them highly elaborate – herself.

If I was to nit-pick at all it would be to say this production did lack pace. Quickfire repartee is the very essence of Blackadder, but perhaps getting in the oftentimes wordy exchanges required a slowing down of proceedings.

No matter. A palpable sense of audience enjoyment reigned in the heart of Hexham’s theatreland.

Helen Compson

06.12.2016 10:10
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