Theatre group says ‘yes’ to Comic Relief

From left, Jonathan Redwood as Sir Humphrey Appleby, Nick Scovell as the Rt Hon Jim Hacker and Gareth Billington as Bernard Wooley
From left, Jonathan Redwood as Sir Humphrey Appleby, Nick Scovell as the Rt Hon Jim Hacker and Gareth Billington as Bernard Wooley
Katherine Ryan

REVIEW: Katherine Ryan at the Portsmouth Guildhall

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THERE’S political trouble brewing over Europe but ministers are busy sniping at each other and scoring points.

It could well be a description of life in today’s House of Commons, but it’s all happening in an adaptation of the classic sitcom Yes, Minister, and its sequel Yes, Prime Minister, that is being put on in aid of Comic Relief.

The hit comedy originally ran on the BBC from 1980 to 1988, and Fareham-based Interalia Theatre was given permission by the show’s creators to adapt it for the stage.

‘I was so pleased we were allowed to do it,’ said adaptor and director, Nick Scovell. ‘I was an avid fan of the series when it was on telly and loved every single episode. I had always wanted to do a stage version and now we are finally here, it’s just wonderful.’

Interalia Theatre’s production is based on three episodes from across the series, combining them with memorable moments to create one coherent story.

‘The episodes we have adapted feature common threads that naturally follow after one another. They flow so well, they could almost have worked as a film version of the show!’

There are many topical references, including trouble from Europe.

Nick added: ‘I wanted to find a story that reflected current political times, without updating the episodes. The play is topical, without being direct, so the audience will be able to think it is happening now, even though the period is never referred to.’

‘The writing by Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn is so good. To have such wonderful source material to play with is a dream for any performer. It’s really very, very funny.’

The production opens at the Station Theatre on Hayling Island on Saturday, February 18 before moving to Fareham’s Ferneham Hall from Sunday 19 to Wednesday 22.

Interalia Theatre's version of the classic Yes, Minister caricature

Interalia Theatre's version of the classic Yes, Minister caricature

For tickets at Hayling call the box office on (023) 9246 6363 or go to stationtheatre.co.uk For Fareham call 01329 231942 fernehamhall.co.uk
The performances are nightly at 7.30pm and tickets cost £11.00.

The play is topical, without being direct, so the audience will be able to think it is happening now, even though the period is never referred to

Show director Nick Scovell