News: All Star Cast For Revival Of Frankie Howerd's Up Pompeii

Multi award winning David Benson is to lead an all-star cast in a new audio recording of the Frankie Howerd comedy classic, ‘Up Pompeii’. 

Revisiting the world of Frankie Howerd from his accclaimed one-man stage show, ‘To Be Frank’, David Benson will don the toga to play one of Frankie’s greatest comedy roles -  Lurcio the ancient Roman slave. 

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? 

‘Up Pompeii’ was a huge TV hit for Frankie, with a loyal following of 12 million viewers. As Lurcio, Frankie 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. 

Now to mark the 50th anniversary of the first broadcast of ‘Up Pompeii’ on the BBC’s ‘Comedy Playhouse’, this new feature-length audio revival by Spiteful Puppet will be recorded at two special public performances at London’s Shaw Theatre on Saturday October 12, and released on CD and download via Amazon, iTunes and spitefulpuppet.com in late November. 

‘Up Pompeii’ is adapted from the successful spin-off stage play by Miles Tredinnick, and was based on the original characters and BBC TV scripts devised by Talbot Rothwell (a scriptwriter for the ‘Carry On’ films) and Sid Colin. The audio adaptation was written by Barnaby Eaton-Jones, with Daniel McGachy and Iain McLaughlin; by kind permission of Tessa Le Bars Management. 

The new recording features an all-star cast: Frazer Hines (‘Emmerdale’/’Dr Who’) as Ludicrus Sextus, Cleo Rocos (‘The Kenny Everett Show’/’Celebrity Big Brother’) as Suspenda, Tim Brooke-Taylor OBE (best known as one of The Goodies and a panelist of  ’I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue’ on BBC R4 for 40 years) as Captain Treacherus, Jack Lane (‘Dad’s Army Radio Hour’/’Wisdom of a Fool’) as Nausius, Madeline Smith (Hammer Horror star who appeared with Frankie Howerd in the films  ‘Up Pompeii’ and ‘Up the Front’) as Ammonia, Camille Coduri (best known for playing Jackie Tyler in ‘Doctor Who’ from 2005-2010/ ‘Him & Her’) as Voluptua, Rosa Coduri (‘Lucky Man/Jekyll and Hyde’) as Erotica, Jilly Breeze (‘Da Vinci’s Demons’) as Senna, Ben Perkins (‘Hedda Gabler’, 2016) as Corneous and Barnaby Eaton-Jones (Producer/Director, his third revival after BBC Radio 4 Extra’s ‘I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again... Again!’ and Audible’s ‘The Goodies’) as Kretinus. 

David Benson first became well known for his one-man stage show, ‘Think No Evil of Us: My Life with Kenneth Williams’, about the life and career of the late actor, for which he won the  Scotsman’s Fringe First award in 1996; and for his TV role as Noël Coward in the 1990s BBC comedy series ‘Goodnight Sweetheart’. When not touring in the theatre he worked on BBC radio, including playing the character parts in the science fiction comedy series ‘The Scarifyers’. He now has a dozen one-man shows in his theatrical repertoire, with which he tours, including ‘Think No Evil Of Us: My Life With Kenneth Williams’, ‘Nothing But Pleasure (a.k.a. Mourning Glory)’, ‘To Be Frank: Frankie Howerd and The Secret of Happiness’, ‘Star Struck: A Fantasy Celebrity Party’ ‘David Benson’s Haunted Stage’ ‘It’s A Plot: David Benson’s Conspiracy Cabaret’, ‘Why Pay More’,  ‘David Benson’s Christmas Party’ ‘Doctor Whom: My Search for Samuel Johnson’, ‘David Benson sings Noel Coward’ and the two productions which he premiered at Edinburgh in 2010, ‘The Singalong Glee Club’ and ‘Lockerbie: Unfinished Business’. 

Comedy Playhouse was a long-running  BBC TV anthology series of one-off unrelated sitcoms that aired for 120 episodes from 1961 to 1975. Many episodes, including ‘Up Pompeii’,  later graduated to their own series: ‘Steptoe and Son’, ‘Meet the Wife’, ‘Till Death Us Do Part’, ‘All Gas and Gaiters’, ‘Not in Front of the Children’, ‘Me Mammy’, ‘That’s Your Funeral’, 
‘The Liver Birds’, ‘Are You Being Served?’ and ‘Last of the Summer Wine’.

UP POMPEII LISTINGS INFO 

Shaw Theatre 
London NW1 2AJ 

Saturday 12 October 

There are 2 recordings at 
2.30pm and 5.30pm 

Tickets: 
£12.50 (inc. £0.50 cmsn)* 
£10.50 (inc. £0.50 cmsn)* 

www.shaw-theatre.com 

 

The artwork for this production was created by Robert Hammond

 

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