Now, the producers of audio revivals I’m Sorry, I’ll Read That Again… Again and the hotly anticipated new Goodies adventure The Goodies – Live In Your Ear, have announced a new audio adaptation of the play.
It will be released on CD and as an audio download in late November.
The original comedy saw Howerd star as a British slave, Lurcio, living and working for a senator of the Roman Empire in Pompeii, shortly before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius that saw the settlement destroyed.
Producers of the new programme explain: “Up Pompeii! was a huge TV hit for Frankie, with a loyal following of 12 million viewers. As Lurcio, he constantly broke the fourth wall, taking the audience into his confidence with a non-stop barrage of double entendres and risqué gags, all of which go unheard by the other characters.”
Written initially by Talbot Rothwell and later in conjunction with Sid Colin, Up Pompeii! debuted as a pilot on Wednesday 17th September 1969. Proving highly popular, it quickly returned and ran for two series the following year, before being revived for one-off specials in both 1975 and 1991, the latter of which saw the format move to ITV.
The programme was devised after BBC executives saw Howerd appearing as a similar character in the West End production of Roman-set comedy A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum. The popularity of the resulting TV show saw its format later reborn as Whoops Baghdad, pilot A Touch Of The Casanovas, and Then Churchill Said To Me.
Frankie Howerd commissioned Tredinnick’s stage play based on the original characters in the late 1980s, but before it could be staged he was invited to return to the West End and reprise his acclaimed A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum role. This left the script unperformed until the 2000s, long after the comic’s 1992 death.
Producers Spiteful Puppet tease: “Welcome to ancient Rome, where the steps of the Forum are peopled by nubile slave girls and a range of outrageous characters including Lurcio’s owner, Ludicrus Sextus the Senator, his wife Ammonia, his son Nausius and his daughter, Erotica.
“Lurcio attempts to deliver his prologue and begin proceedings before he’s quickly caught up in the myriad of sexual liaisons in all quarters of his master’s house. Why does Ludicrus not leave for the Senate meeting in Rome? Why does his wife return so quickly from the country? Who will take care of the escaped slave girl, Voluptua, and will Nausius’s love poetry improve? Whilst growing chaos ensues, an increasing rumbling is heard in the distance – what could that possibly be?”
The feature-length comedy will be recorded at the Shaw Theatre on London’s Euston Road, on Saturday 12th October. Performances will take place at both 2:30 and 5:30pm, and can be booked online.
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