Rising Damp, the BAFTA award winning 1970s comedy series, is back, and it's on stage.
Using Eric Chappell's inimitable dialogue, it tells of the goings on in self-opinionated Rigsby's seedy boarding house in a northern University town.
The cast bring out the funny side of their characters though playing them straight. The only female tenant, Miss Jones, a university administrator, is the apple of Rigbsy's eye though his adoration is unrequited. There's a great scene when he tries to win her affections, with Amanda Hadingue delightful as the naive Miss Jones.
The other two tenants, Alan and Philip, are respectively studying medicine and town and country planning.
Philip is black and far superior to Rigsby in intellect. He suffers barbed racist remarks from him yet manages to make the bigoted landlord feel inferior and insecure. Cornelius Macarthy conveys a man of stature even though he isn't the African chief he pretends to be (which is probably why Ruth fancies him).
Alan is gauche, and socially inept. He also fancies Ruth. Paul Morse captures this perfectly.
But it is Stephen Chapman's leading performance as Rupert Rigsby that steals the show. He adroitly follows his predecessor Leonard Rossiter in a role that demands a lot from any actor, even though, unfortunately, we don't always catch every word.
Director Don Warrington, who formerly played Philip, brings out the best in his cast, making much of the humour and plentiful one liners.
- Julia Taylor