Bringing hit TV comedies to life on stage either works, because it has a good script and contains most of the original TV cast, like ‘Allo ‘Allo or is brilliantly cast as seen the recent Dad’s Army tours or misses the mark totally. The live tour of Keeping Up Appearances unfortunately fits in to the latter category.
Roy Clarke has set his stage version of the TV hit comedy in a village hall, where Hyacinth’s picture is being moved to allow an amateur play, directed by Emmet, to be performed. Hyacinth is drafted in to the play against Emmet’s wishes with what should be chaotic results, but things never seem to get going. However ,she does answer her mobile phone numerous times which allows son Sheridan and sister Violet (the one with a swimming pool and room for a pony ) to get in on the action. Her put upon husband Richard is never seen, he is either spoken to via her mobile phone or waved to fromt he stage, as if he is sitting in the empty hall.
Christine Moore, captures the look and sound of Daisy, while Gareth Hale and Kim Hartman as Onslow and Elizabeth do what they can with the material. But the show belongs to Rachel Bell as Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced “bouquet”) who is a revelation in bringing the TV character to life. However, the live tour of Keeping Up Appearances does contain one actual member of the television cast, David Janson, who plays Mr Milson, a totally different character to TV persona of the postman.
Sadly the material is just not strong enough and the play never gets going. At times any gentle humour that there is, threatens to break in to a farce, but despite the casts best endeavours we actually get there.