Compo's successful streak

Last of the Summer Wine by Roy Clarke at Colchester Mercury until Saturday.There can't be too many theatres able to fill most of their seats on a warm Monday night in mid-summer but the fans were out in force here, most of them turning a touch grey at the temple and looking for a bit of nostalgic fun.

David Henshall

Last of the Summer Wine by Roy Clarke at Colchester Mercury

There can't be too many theatres able to fill most of their seats on a warm Monday night in mid-summer but the fans were out in force here, most of them turning a touch grey at the temple and looking for a bit of nostalgic fun.

It seems to matter not a jot that none of the people on stage is or has been connected to the longest-running comedy on British television because audiences have seen actors come and go in the series on the box and are simply in love with the characters.


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The moment the curtain went up to reveal Foggy, Compo and Clegg on a bench centre stage, looking quite surprisingly like the originals, they were greeted with cheers and claps like long-lost friends.

It's a tough task adapting a show like Last of the Summer Wine to the stage because part of the power of the TV series is the authentic Yorkshire setting and breathtaking scenery wrapped round the silly antics of three geriatrics with too much time on their hands and a foolish sense of mischief.

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The puckishness is still there but the two-scene set, though clever and well-operated, still takes a bit of pace out of the action. However, the show is never less than amusing and builds a steady head oif steam to a typical Summer Wine farcically funny conclusion.

The story, sub-titled The Moonbather, has a streaker loose in the village and the inept Constable Beaumont (Steven Pinder), who would have difficulty catching a cold, is out to ensnare the culprit.

Needless to say, our heroes are soon involved, Compo in his longjohns and the stuffy, pretentious Foggy determined to thwart Beaumont because he rather fancies his chances with the policeman's girlfriend, Samantha (Gillian Axtell).

Also involved and adding extra star quality to the cast, Ruth Madoc is there as Samantha's visiting Welsh friend, Meg, who, like most of the women in the village, stands no nonsense and treats all men like children.

John Pennington, Timothy Knighley and Harry Dickman are splendidly in character as Foggy, Clegg and Compo, backed by a lot of fun and business from Estelle Collins (Nora Batty), Ian Marr (Howard) and Tony Adams ( Mr Pilbream).

David Henshall.

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