Classic Comedy Productions have taken some of the best-loved TV comedy shows and adapted them for the stage. It started 10 years ago when Victoria Wood rang David Graham to ask for the loan of some backing tracks for her play TALENT which David had produced some years before (see 'Other Productions'). David asked if, in return, he could produce a stage version of dinnerladies. Classic Comedy produced the resulting adaptation which completed four national No 1 tours featuring Shobna Gulati, Andrew Dunn and Sue Devaney from the original TV cast.
This was followed by KEEPING UP APPEARANCES. Writer Roy Clarke created a new piece specifically for the stage and, with original TV cast members Patricia Routledge and Josephine Tewson already in their 80s and others unable to tour due to ill health, it was decided to re-cast totally with Gareth Hale, Kim Hartman, Steven Pinder, Debbie Arnold and David Janson joining the cast and the excellent Rachel Bell taking on the role of Hyacinth for two national tours.
David's business partner at Classic Comedy, Jan Hunt, then suggested an adaptation of BBC TV's BIRDS OF A FEATHER. After securing the services of all three original stars of the TV series, Pauline Quirke, Linda Robson and Lesley Joseph, the stage production became the most successful yet in its two lengthy national tours
Then came Eric Chappell's RISING DAMP. Leonard Rossiter would be a hard act to follow for any actor and the specific nature of all four characters made casting well-known 'names' in the production very difficult. It was decided to cast solid, working actors who were most like the original cast and, with Don Warrington on board to direct (who would know more about the piece?), four excellent actors led by the brilliant Stephen Chapman produced a result of which to be justifiably proud. Two national tours were completed of an excellent production.
So, what's next? Well, having secured the rights to BBC TV's MEN BEHAVING BADLY we are working alongside legendary TV producer Beryl Vertue and writer Simon Nye to find a modern 'named' cast to do justice to an updated stage version of this classic comedy. Look out for further news!