Blackadder banter comes to the stage

3 minutes read
Posted 30 August, 2023
The people featured in the image are Mike Legge Melchett Nicky Busst Queenie and Victoria Mills Gray Nursie. copy

The people featured in the image are Mike Legge (Melchett), Nicky Busst (Queenie), and Victoria Mills / Gray (Nursie)

Remarkable Theatre will perform Blackadder The Golden Age at Arrowtown Athenaeum Hall from this Thursday. The show is inspired by the BBC series, written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton. It’s a mash-up of the best characters and scenes from the much-loved programme.

The performance will transport Lord Edmund Blackadder, Baldrick, Lord Percy, Queenie, and other wonderfully ridiculous characters from the small screen to the stage, making for comedy gold. Melanie Grindell, who is the production manager at Remarkable Theatre, describes the show as very tongue-in-cheek and not PC at all.

“Hopefully it will lead to lots of laughter as the characters go about their silliness,” says Melanie. “Blackadder, who sits on the Queen’s court, ends up meeting a girl disguised as a boy, which is Bob, and ends up falling in love and trying to navigate the world when he loves someone that he doesn’t think he should. Meanwhile, the Queen is always up to her silly tricks and playing practical jokes on people, and Blackadder owes the wrong kinds of people money, which leads him into all sorts of trouble.”

The fast-paced show is based on season two of the series in Elizabethan England. The whole team at Remarkable Theatre are busy at work bringing everything to life, including some fantastic costumes, great makeup and beautifully unique sets. They chose to do Blackadder as they wanted to do something that was well-known and allowed for a bigger cast.

“We’ve been exploring quite a few options and then we talked to Angela Newell, who’s our director from Invercargill, and she mentioned to us that she’s been involved in the production of Blackadder down there and asked if we’d be interested. We looked at the script – which has been adapted from a TV series by Jason Fraser, and we have permission from the original writers, Ben Elton and Richard Curtis, to perform – and it looked like lots of fun.”

Greg Dorn has been with Remarkable Theatre for around 10 years now and will play Kate’s Father and Prince Ludwig on the night. His background includes attending acting school in London and spending time in Sydney working in film. He was excited when he heard this year’s production would be Blackadder and says that Ludwig is his favourite character as it’s fun to play the baddies.

“I play Kate’s father – if you recall the TV series, Kate disguises herself as a boy to get some work in London, and ends up working for Blackadder,” says Greg. “I’m her father, and I didn’t really want her going off to London – I had much better plans for her – a money-making plan that involves some unsavoury stuff for her, but I was more concerned about the money.

“And my other character is Count Ludwig, the indestructible, who’s a German count that had kidnapped Blackadder later in the play and tortured him and his friends in order to get access to the Queen and to take over the whole throne of England. I’m full of cunning plans and am a ghastly chap.”

The cast have been rehearsing for the past few months, and many of them have an English background; as Greg puts it, Blackadder is a part of their heritage. The show is R13 with some adult themes and is expected to be a fun and funny night. Melanie says that it doesn’t matter if you’re not super familiar with the Blackadder TV show, too.

“It’s comedy that was written in the 80s but is still relevant to today. It’s still the same things that people can relate to – money worries, keeping up appearances, having problems with your workmates, boss treating you like rubbish. The storyline itself is quite relevant and we’ve been having lots of fun in rehearsals just cracking up. I don’t know the show as well as a lot of other people, but I don’t think it matters – you don’t have to be a massive fan to come and see it,” says Melanie.

Blackadder The Golden Age will run from 7:30pm from Thursday 7 – Saturday 16 September, with a matinee performance on Sunday 10 September. Tickets are available on Eventfinda, and more information on the show and cast can be found at


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