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Keeping Up Appearances hits the Playhouse

HOBART Repertory Theatre Society is kicking of its 2020 season of plays with the classic BBC comedy ‘Keeping up Appearances,’ adapted for the stage by the original author Roy Clarke.

Originally airing from 1990-1995, the central character is the eccentric and snobbish, lower middle-class social climber, Hyacinth Bucket, who insists that her surname is pronounced “bouquet.”

In 2010, the television show was adapted into a play by the same writer, Roy Clarke.

The play successfully toured theatres in the UK, making its American premiere in New York City in 2015.

Unlike other screen to stage adaptations, Keeping Up Appearances is not a series of episodes, but rather an original piece.

Hyacinth’s long-suffering neighbour Emmet is directing a murder mystery for the local amateur dramatic company and is determined to go to extreme lengths to keep Hyacinth out of the play.

When Hyacinth hears that the part of Lady Melvern is yet to be cast, she is determined that nothing will stop her from getting the role.

Meanwhile, much to Hyacinth’s dismay, the cast mainly consists of her family members from whom she would rather disassociate herself.

Is this play a disaster in the making?

Acton Park resident and director Shauna-Lee Ward has been involved with the Hobart Repertory Theatre for 14 years – in every role from stage manager, costume manager and production manager to actor and director.

Keeping Up Appearances is her first full-length show.

“I’m very much looking forward to bringing this much-loved classic to Tasmania for the first time,” Ms Ward said.

“My vision is to present the theatre adaptation as true to the series as possible, drawing on the extraordinary talent we have in Hobart, while introducing new characters not known to television audiences.

“Keeping Up Appearances is an absolute hoot and I anticipate great enthusiasm from the theatre community to see the show.”

Heading the cast in the iconic role of Hyacinth is local theatre veteran Pip Tyrrell.

The cast also includes Matt Dobson, Fiona Lohrbaecher, Leah Venettacci, Mark Morgan, Janet Smith, Brent Basstian, Jill Holloway, Brian Andrews and Leila Gravell.

Keeping Up Appearances will be showing at the Playhouse Theatre, Bathurst Street, Hobart from 28 February to 21 March 2020.

Performances are 7.30pm Wednesday to Saturday, with matinees on Sunday 8 March at 3.30pm, Sunday 15 March at 3.30pm and Saturday 21 March at 2pm.

Book at www.playhouse.org.au or phone 6234 1536.

Tickets may also be purchased in person at the Playhouse Box Office, 11am-2pm Monday to Friday and 9am-1pm Sunday.

Caption: Director Shauna-Lee Ward enjoying a light-hearted moment while the cast of ‘Keeping Up Appearances’ are hard at work. Photo credit: Bob Linacre.