Keeping Up Appearances hits the stage


For a British comedy series that ran for just five seasons from 1990-1995, Keeping Up Appearances has a continuous stretch of worldwide syndication along with a newly created stage performance to thank for its longevity. If you’re in the neighborhood, the Comedy Theatre Company has taken one of Britain’s most popular comedies of all-time and moves it in front of a live audience this week at the Theatre Royal in Glasgow. Rachel Bell stars as the irrepressible Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced, Bouquet) while Gareth Hale takes the role of the FT-reading, telly-watching, Onslow. Other “notables” in the cast include Kim Hartman, who played Private Helga Geerhart in ‘Allo, ‘Allo, and David Janson, who played the on-edge postman in the original KUA series.

According to both Bell and Hale, the stage play was written by Roy Clarke, the sole writer who penned the original 40+ episodes of the series and was created specifically for the stage. The setting for the play is the church hall, not Hyacinth’s house, with a storyline fairly reminiscent of the series. Emmit is casting a musical and is adamant about keeping Hyacinth’s “talent” off-stage. However, when she hears the part of Lady Malvern is open, there’s nothing she won’t do to get it.

In this interview with Central Scotland’s ITV morning show, both actors talk about the daunting task of playing two of, what might be, the most famous British comedy characters of all time.

Keeping Up Appearances, the stage play, follows in the footsteps of several other classic British comedy series that have recently experienced a revival on stage. Earlier this year, the brilliant Antony Jay / Jonathan Lynn series, Yes Minister, was brought to the stage for the series’ 30th anniversary as was the David Croft / Jimmy Perry classic, Dad’s Army. Of course, one can never forget the shining example of classic British comedy on stage and Spamalot.