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Round The Horne - Unseen And Uncut, Theatre Royal, New Road, Brighton, Nov 18-22
A total of 15 million listeners - that's a quarter of the population - listened to Round The Horne in the 1960s.
"It is a fantastic British institution," says director Richard Baron of his new show Round The Horne Unseen And Uncut, which is bringing favourite characters like J Peasemold Gruntfuttock, Rambling Syd Rumpo and Dame Celia Molestrangler back to the stage.
Unlike the recent West End revival of Round The Horne, which focused mainly on the final fourth series of the radio favourite, this show is drawn from the first three series, when it was written solely by the writing team of Barry Took and Marty Feldman.
The show will be taking the form of a radio recording, at a mock-up of the old Paris Studio where Round The Horne was recorded every Sunday.
The six-strong cast will be joined by a group of vocalists and musicians to recreate the sound of The Hornblowers and The Fraser Hayes Four, whose music used to intersperse the show.
Baron has been working closely with Took's widow Lyn to put the two-hour show together from 50 different scripts.
"I didn't know Round The Horne at all," he admits. "It meant I could come to the material without any preconceptions.
"What is amazing is all the adlibs are in the scripts. The actors very rarely adlibbed themselves because the quality of the script was so good."
"I wanted to do a show that was absolutely authentic Took and Feldman material," said Lyn Took at the launch of Round The Horne at Pinocchio's in New Street, Brighton.
"It was what I wanted and what Marty's widow Lauretta wanted.
"When Barry and Marty used to write the show, Barry intially tried to type it on this old typewriter, but their flights of fancy were too quick for his fingers. Instead Barry used to write the scripts in longhand and I would then type them up.
"The sound you always heard when they were working together was laughter. They were absolutely on the same track.
The reason they stopped working together after the third series was that Marty had gone to Hollywood."
Of the original cast of the show, which included the brilliant Kenneth Williams, Hugh Paddick, Betty Marsden, Douglas Smith and the titular hero Kenneth Horne, only Bill Pertwee is still with us.
Between them they would play the outrageous characters and send up the establishment through the mouths of resting actors Julian and Sandy and Dr Chou En Ginsberg MA (failed).
"What this show couldn't be was a series of impressions," says Baron.
"The character that everyone knows is Kenneth Williams. Robin Sebastian [who plays the Hancock's Half Hour and Carry On star] has got the look and the air about him of Kenneth, and has a way of capturing the mannerisms. People would be disappointed if he didn't."
Like Sebastian, Jonathan Rigby (Horne), and Nigel Harrison (Paddick), are reprising their roles from the West End.
"The nice thing about auditioning the actors was that they had an affection and an appreciation of the work," says Baron.
"It's tongue-in-cheek, knowing, but not cynically knowing. We didn't try to update it to make it more risque.
"If you have never heard Round The Horne you will get a nice compendium of the best bits."
- Starts 7.45pm, 2.30pm matinees Thurs and Sat, tickets £13-£28. Call 08700 606650.