Interview: Classic sitcom Rising Damp set to delight audiences at the Theatre Royal

Rising Damp dress rehearsal photographs ANL-140513-110149001
Rising Damp dress rehearsal photographs ANL-140513-110149001

Classic sit-com Rising Damp is back. The tales of Rigsby and his suffering tenants will come to the stage at Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal from May 27-30.

Writer Eric Chappell told the Bury Free Press what fans can expect.

He said: “It’s gone very well with audiences. They have laughed at all the old jokes and the new ones as well.

“The student element brings the young to play and the Rigsby brings the old – it has a general appeal. I just hope that appeal continues in Bury.

The tales of Rigsby, Alan, Philip and Miss Jones began as a play, which ran briefly in the West End, before being selected for television. Mr Chappell said he had intended to spend his career as a playwright and has enjoyed working on this latest production.

He said: “I did not get it quite right to start with. I saw them rehearse and said ‘that needs alterin’g. I think we have got it as right as we will ever get it.

“I enjoyed the whole experience.”

Mr Chappell said that the likes of Leonard Rossiter and Richard Beckinsale, who starred in the popular 1970s television series could not be replaced.

However, the characters they portrayed have been captured in the play and the result is a successful performance that works.

Fans can expect to laugh again at the jealousy and scheming that revolves around the ever-single Miss Jones,

Mr Chappell said it was never his intention to write comedy series for television– a surprising fact as he is also responsible for Home to Roost, Duty Free, Only When I Laugh and The Bounder, to name but a few.

Comedy Theatre Company who are producing the show are also no strangers to success. The group has been responsible for the staging of Victoria Wood’s Dinnerladies and BBC’s Birds of a Feather, both of which received critical and public acclaim.

Fans should ensure they see this show as Mr Chappell said that despite requests there would not be a return to the small screen.

On top of this, audience members may find themselves sat next to the creator.

Mr Chappell said: “Go and see it. I may very well see it when it comes out so you may find yourself rubbing shoulders with the writer.”

Rising Damp will be performed at 7.30pm from May 27 to 31 at 2pm on May 28 and 2.30pm on May 31. Call 01284 769505 to book.