The Prisoner of Zenda at at Ferneham Hall, Fareham and the Groundlings Theatre, Portsea

Interalia Theatre will perform The Prisoner of Zenda, based on Anthony Hope's 1984 novel, at Ferneham Hall and the Groundlings Theatre.

Interalia Theatre will perform The Prisoner of Zenda, based on Anthony Hope's 1984 novel, at Ferneham Hall and the Groundlings Theatre.

Reginald D Hunter

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Following their Guide award-winning production of The Three Musketeers last October, Interalia Theatre have reassembled the same team to bring a swash-buckling tale to the stage.

The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope was first published in 1894 and tells the tale of dashing Englishman Rudolf Rassendyll, who finds himself in the beautiful kingdom of Ruritania during a tour of Europe.

My last big role was Maria in The Sound of Music, and now I’ve swapped my guitar and lederhosen for swords and black leather

Alexandra Maclean from Fareham

However, his holiday is transformed into the adventure of a lifetime when the king is kidnapped on the eve of his coronation – and Rudolph looks the spitting image of the missing monarch.

Interalia Theatre will be bringing the tale to life at Ferneham Hall, Fareham and the Groundlings in Portsea.

‘It’s a perfect show for the stage and for us,’ says adaptor and director of the production, Nick Scovell. ‘We have specialised in bringing adventure stories to the stage and The Prisoner of Zenda has been on my to do list for some time.’

The story is littered with an array of dashing heroes and dastardly villains – one of whom is played by Alexandra Maclean from Fareham (pictured far right).

‘I’ve never played a villain before,’ she says. ‘My last big role was Maria in The Sound of Music, and now I’ve swapped my guitar and lederhosen for swords and black leather – it’s great.’

Alexandra plays the vicious Baroness Detchard and is bringing her skills as a dancer into play. ‘I’m being rather athletic in the role,’ she says. ‘I’m spinning and killing people left right and centre. It’s huge fun.’

Mark Harold from Portsmouth is also getting in touch with his dark side for the first time. ‘I normally play comedy parts, like Baldrick in Blackadder. Now I’m growing a beard and trying to take over the world. I’ve been practicing my maniacal laugh at home, I’m not sure what the neighbours think.’

The Prisoner of Zenda comes to Ferneham Hall, Fareham on October 13-15 and the Groundlings, Portsea on October 16-17.

Tickets: £11, visit fernehamhall.co.uk and groundlings.co.uk to book.

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