Keeping Up Appearances: Geraldton theatrical group takes BBC hit comedy to stage

Anita KirkbrightGeraldton Guardian

Director Lachlan Anderson is feeling confident after the sold-out opening night of Theatre 8’s three-week season of Keeping Up Appearances.

The amateur cast, led by Lynda Brough and Mark Long, delivered crisp lines with only a few prompts from backstage last Friday.

The director said audiences could expect the actors’ timing and delivery to improve as their performance-night nerves subsided in future shows.

Written specially for stage by Roy Clarke, of Open All Hours and Last of the Summer Wine fame, the script is full of the witty one-liners that lovers of the BBC TV show would expect.

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Veteran Theatre 8 thespian Mark Long plays dour Emmett Hawksworth, who is directing an amateur play with the help of his prim sister, Liz, played by a sweet Ali Morgan.

Other characters include the formidable social climber Hyacinth Bucket, played astutely by Lynda Brough, and her loveable sisters Daisy and Rose, played with aplomb by Donna Hosking and Rachel Heelan. Renier Beukes convincingly plays brother-in-law Onslow, while Sheldon Long’s shy and newly-divorced Mr Milson and theatre doyen Doreen Howells’ Mrs Debden show the breadth of acting talent. Armed with a gas mask and a rifle, Chris Clune plays the non-speaking part of “Daddy”.

Daisy (Donna Hosking) and Onslow (Renier Beukes) in Keeping Up Apperances.
Camera IconDaisy (Donna Hosking) and Onslow (Renier Beukes) in Keeping Up Apperances. Credit: Supplied/Supplied

Anderson, who has previously directed plays with junior actors, said his adult cast did “remarkably well”.

“There was an exuberant feeling backstage — lots of energy,” he said at the conclusion of opening night.

“It is an awesome show, which will give people an evening of laughter.”

A fan of the BBC TV show of the same name, the primary school teacher said directing the British comedy was a dream come true.

He said it wasn’t necessary to be a fan of the TV show to enjoy the stage production, which is being performed at Theatre 8 in Wonthella.

Performances will be held this Friday, Saturday and Sunday (May 17-19).

Auditions for cast and crew of the next Theatre 8 play will take place on May 16.

Macbeth will be performed in August under the direction of Renier Beukes.

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