The Venue Revisits Radio Classic Round the HorneDate: 9 December 2003
Following the West End transfers of Jus' Like That and The Play What I Wrote - which paid tribute to Tommy Cooper and double act Morecambe and Wise, respectively - another new play will resurrect more great comedians of yesteryear. Round the Horne...Revisited, based on the 1960s radio comedy series, will open at Leicester Square's The Venue on 22 January 2004 (previews from 12 January).
Round the Horne was a Sunday afternoon must from 1965 to 1969, attracting, at its peak, an audience of 15 million. Straight man Kenneth Horne and his mad-cap bunch - Kenneth Williams, Hugh Paddick, Betty Marsden and Douglas Smith - mercilessly sent up the establishment through a combination of bawdy jokes and surreal literary invention acted out in a series of sketches. Recordings of the show still selling in their hundreds of thousands.
The radio series was written by Barry Took, Marty Feldman, Nigel Harrison and Brian Cooke, the last still living member of the team, who has written and adapted the new stage play based on two live radio episodes as well as previously unheard material.
The fresh Round the Horne material includes new sketches from Julian and Sandy, aging juvenile Binkie Huckabuck, Dame Celia Molestrangler and J Peasmold Gruntfuttock. Old favourite Rambling Syd Rumpo also returns with a more recent addition to the fold, Gypsy Rose Swansoiler.
The cast for the stage version of Round the Horne are Kenneth Sebastian (as Kenneth Williams), Jonathan Rigby (Kenneth Horne), Charles Armstrong (Douglas Smith), Kate Brown (Betty Marsden) and Nigel Harrison.
The production, first seen at the fringe White Bear Theatre in October 2003, is directed by Michael Kingsbury. It's presented in the West End by London City heater and Joabri Productions.
- by Terri Paddock