No, it’s not the title of an insensitive Channel 4 documentary about Alzheimer’s but rather a nod to a recent, possibly disturbing trend in theatres. Stage revivals of classic sitcoms seem to be all the rage at the moment, Steptoe & Son made a tonally confusing comeback on the boards a wee while ago and now with Peter Kay rumoured to play Fletch in Porridge, Allo’ Allo’ all ready to go, and Leslie Grantham inexplicably in a Dad’s Army adaptation, it seems anything’s possible.
Well, if this is what you want, spruced up versions of knackered old sitcoms featuring stunt casting or inappropriate shifts in tone or format, have a gander at these little doozies.
Because of You: Jacko’s Return
Ken Loach resuscitates Esmonde & Larbey’s mid-tier chuckle inducer Brush Strokes. Karl “Flash” Howman is back in the part that made him, as once-lovable rogue Jacko. Changes to the original programme see Jacko down on his luck as an embittered racist railing against the influx of Polish painters and decorators, watching his life unravel as his sexual escapades serve to demean him and those around him, spending his time between Elmo’s Wine Bar and the alley behind scoring crack. Peter Mullan gamely takes on the part of Elmo Putney, transforming the once lovable landlord into a terrifying local crimelord.
Only Fools & Horses goes West End musical, featuring songs penned by Elton John and John Sullivan. “Rodney You Plonker” “He Who Dares Wins” and “Shut Up, You Tart” feature on the toe-tapping soundtrack.
The Magnificent Ambroses
It’s back down to Peckham and lively barbershop Desmond’s for another round of tonsorial hilarity. With the sad passing of Norman Beaton a few years ago, it’s down to Bruce Forsyth to fill some mighty big shoes indeed.
Rising Damp gets the jukebox musical treatment as Darren Day steps in Leonard Rossiter’s shoes as the hapless landlord. “Me and Mrs Jones” “Knock Three Times on the Ceiling” and “Vienna” are used to devastating effect. With Lily Allen as Miss Jones, and Richard Blackwood as Phillip.