Growing old is obligatory. Growing up is optional. Sound familiar?
Well it should be, for that wry, smile-inducing thought is exactly what lay at the heart of one of television’s most enduring comedies.
Not so much men behaving badly but pensioners growing old disgracefully.
TV audiences loved the idea and Huddersfield Thespians are hoping that a theatre audience will too.
For the Thespians have chosen a stage version of Last Of The Summer Wine to open its new season at the Lawrence Batley Theatre. Sounds the perfect comedy brew with which to toast the beginning of what promises to be a vintage collection of plays this season.
Experienced producer Pauline Sykes has been working with a team of Thespian actors who have had great fun in rehearsals recreating some of the characters we all feel we know from the TV screen.
But this is not a television script adapted for the stage but a production written specifically for theatre by the series creator, Roy Clarke.
It certainly has the fizz and fun of the show that ran on British TV for an astonishing 37 years.
In classic Summer Wine style, Foggy has designs on winning the affections of Constance, Nora Batty’s niece and the long-suffering fiancée of the hapless Gifford Bewmont.
With the help of Clegg, Foggy invites the ladies around for an evening’s entertainment but they are all unaware that a mysterious flasher is stalking the local community…
What happens next? What else but havoc, mistaken identities and the kind of chaos associated with Foggy, Clegg and Compo?
At its height, the enduring TV comedy was watched by audiences of 18 to 20 million.
Many of those viewers came to feel as if they knew not just the characters but the glorious countryside in which the series was set and which became iconic in its own right. And the series certainly brought many visitors to the Holme Valley.
The Thespians hope that some of that affection lingers on and will bring audiences to the Lawrence Batley Theatre for performances which begin on Tuesday (October 8).
The show is in the theatre’s main house and runs every night including Saturday at 7.30pm. There’s also a Saturday matinee at 2.15pm.
The cast is a strong one with Keith Royston continuing a busy season.
Keith, has just reprised his award-winning performance in Alan Stockdill’s play, The Last Memory.
This poignant piece, about coping with dementia, won Keith the award for best actor out of those actors in 12 plays at the Glossop Festival during the summer.
The show has been seen again in recent weeks in both Brighouse and Moldgreen.
Keith’s comedy skills will get full rein in the new Thespians’ show and he’s back with them again later in the season to direct Michael Palin’s play, The Weekend.
Kirkwood hospice chaplain, the Rev Jonathan Sharp, is playing his first major role with the Thespians and the company’s supporters will be delighted to see both David Smith and Maureen Speight on stage.
Though how wardrobe wizard Maureen is going to put up with those stockings as Nora is another question.
A night for fun, frivolity and a whole wave of nostalgia. It’s a relaxed way to start the season and one that should bring in the crowds.
Tickets on 01484 430528.