Last night the 2015 Everyman festival opened in style with Blackadder III. It’s a tough job opening a festival but Blackadder’s hilarious Regency England adventure was perfect for the first night.
Firstly though, a confession: I’ve never seen Blackadder.
Well I’ve seen bits. And I’ve seen quite a bit of ‘Blackadder Goes Forth’ because I used to use it teaching Year 9 History. But other than that…the odd clip here and there…I know the gist of it but have no clue really. But actually this was a blessing, because aside from an obvious awareness of who played who on TV I have little to compare it to, so could just sit back and enjoy the laughs. And of those there are plenty.
Comedy is difficult. Comedy is made even more difficult when the audience already knows the jokes (aside from me obviously). So absolute respect to the cast for bringing to life much loved characters in their own way. Brian Smith as Blackadder and Peter Harding-Roberts as Baldrick in particular for taking on iconic roles and giving them their own spin. The entire cast is both hilarious and talented, special mention to Osian Llewelyn Edwards and James Pritchard for services to over-acting-as-actors in a play.
Additional praise must be given to the inventive stage design, that allows a simple wall to be transformed into various locations. The ingenious use of doors also as ever offers opportunity for more comedy. Costumes too are delightful, with wigs and fake facial hair galore! Who also doesn’t enjoy a man rocking a nice pair of stockings?
Blackadder the Third is a hilarious piece, with a lot of fun (mainly, as ever at poor Baldrick’s expense). What is also has that makes it an excellent opener to the festival is an undercurrent of political commentary fitting for this year. It’s also equally reassuring and disturbing to think that politics in fact never changes!
A brilliant opening night to the Everyman 2015 Festival, Blackadder is sure to sell out so I urge you to get tickets asap!
And not forgetting the rest of the festival-I’ll be blogging and tweeting from all of them:
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