For the first time in almost 5 years, Repertory Invercargill is returning to SIT Centrestage for Blackadder: The Golden Age, in mid March.
Directed and adapted for the stage by Jason Fraser, the cast includes Callum Fowler, Michael Buick, Lyndal Ludlow, Travis Luke, Neil McDonald, Maggie Pirie, Caleb Bell, Victoria Mills, Logan Dalgity, Emma Gunn, George Hazlett, Caleb Lay, Ashleigh Reid, Mat Rohan, Peter Taylor, Sophie Worner and David McMeeking.
Spokesperson Phillie Holmes said Repertory Invercargill usually stages its own shows at their venue in Esk Street, but because the set design of this show demanded a bigger stage, and after the success of its 2018 show ‘Blackadders Goes Forth’ they decided to return to the SIT.
She said they used SIT’s Centrestage for many of their past productions before their own venue was renovated back in 2008.
“It holds a special place in many of our hearts…It’s always exciting to be working on a show so big we need a larger venue, and it’s especially exciting to be able to come back big after Covid.
“We know Southlanders have missed being able to come to the theatre, and we can’t wait to share this hilarious show with everyone.”
Based on the BBC television series and written by Rowan Atkinson, Richard Curtis, and Ben Elton, Jason has spent the past year adapting the script for the stage, and this was his second Blackadder show.
The first one was staged at Repertory House to celebrate the centenary of the end of World War 1.
He said the main reasons why he decided to do another show was because the last one had a sold out season and the repertory were keen for him to come back.
“Another reason was that the first one didn’t have many female roles so I wanted to write a show to make up for it.”
In 2019, Jason had an unfortunate accident with a cat up a tree and was incapacitated for six months, including the entire lockdown – giving him time to write.
So how challenging was this role?
“The scale of the production is the intimidating part. A huge investment has been made by Repertory Invercargill to stage the show at SIT Centrestage instead of our little purpose built theatre that seats 122 odd patrons, to an auditorium with over 300 seats for patrons.”
He said not only that, but the cost of the production such as props and costumes which played a huge part (because the play is set in the Elizabethan era), not to mention the share size of the set.
“I am most looking forward to sitting in a full theatre on opening night with my lovely wife. Watching a show that has been over a year in the making. With a great cast and crew whose commitment over this time has been very humbling, and of which I am very proud of.
“Finally just a couple of hours to escape the harsh reality of the outside world and laughing until my chest hurts and tears run down my face,” he said.
The show runs from March 17 to 20.
Book at the Southland Chamber of Commerce, ILT Stadium Southland or Ticketek https://premier.ticketek.co.nz/shows/show.aspx?sh=BLACKADD21