Theatre Review: Blackadder

Last night we got to go a watch a second run of the hugely successful Blackadder at REPS Theatre.

For those who do not know Blackadder is a period sitcom, starring Rowan Atkinnson as anti-hero Edmund Blackadder and Tony Robinson as Blackadder’s dogsbody, Baldrick.

The REPS version stars Kevin Hanssen as Blackadder and Chipo Chikara as Baldrick. The rest of the cast is a mishmash of theatre stars Musa Saruro, Alex Fairlie, Erin Stricklen and Lara Hundermark with newbies Nyasha Chidzero who just got out of school and impressive debut for Stephen Saffin. It is directed by Jamie McLaren.

In the two-act play, you are essentially getting two episodes of Blackadder. As with the original, expect the ridiculous to get even more ridiculous.

In terms of performances everyone is pretty much stellar given the experience of most of the cast. In such company Chidzero and Saffin mostly never seem out of depth, although there are times Saffin looks a bit awkward. For someone on his debut that is something that we can easily overlook.

While some of the period references flew over most of the cast’s head, resulting in the audience sometimes not quite getting the jokes, as a body the work is generally enjoyable. Baldrick’s performance as Baldrick, the dimwit, is particularly endearing as is that of Erin Stricklen as Nursie in the second act.

There are times that the script gets a bit heavy for the uninitiated in classic medieval references – the pitfalls of doing a script foreign for both performers and audiences. The thing that saves this, lies in the performers who do enough on stage to make sure that it is all kept together and on the whole entertaining.

It is one we recommend really, for a good night out.

It’s on at the REPS Theatre Upstairs until Saturday, 7pm  and it is done before 9pm. There is also a Matinee on Saturday afteroon. Tickets are available at Spotlight.