Popular TV sitcom returns to the stage

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Keith Barron, Gwen Taylor and Neil Stacy are reunited in Eric Chappell’s Duty Free which plays Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre from Monday to Saturday, June 9 to 14.

The return to the hit sitcom has been directed by Roger Redfarn, who lives just outside Chichester.

Thanks to Roger, you can join the original trio as they play out the next hilarious instalment in a television series which regularly topped the UK audience ratings.

When working class David and Amy met upper-middle class Robert and Linda whilst holidaying at the San Remo in Spain, their differences were immediately apparent. But opposites were proven to attract and a most unlikely romance developed – with extraordinary consequences.

And now they are back: David more lustful, Amy more cynical, Robert more dangerous and Linda more romantic than ever.

With love in the Mediterranean air, holidaymakers watch on in disbelief as deceptions, misunderstandings and preposterous situations unfold, with the love-struck protagonists trying every trick in the book in order to keep their amorous intentions a secret.

Roger got a call from Bill Kenwright asking him to direct, and he was delighted to do so.

“It’s a new play by Eric Chappell who wrote the TV series, and immediately the audience know the characters as they come in. The characters very often get an entrance round as they appear. The audience know them and know the relationships.

“But it is a long time since the actors last did it. As Gwen says, they are now different people to what they were. It has been very interesting for them to come back to.”

In preparation, Roger watched the original – all three series and the Christmas special: “I thought it was very important to watch it to see how they developed.

“We are in this hotel in Spain, and it is one of those comedy situations where everything has got to be in the centre of the stage all the time. A lot of it is very static. They sit and talk, but Eric Chappell writes a wonderful rhythm for the comedy. If you get the rhythm of the comedy wrong, then the comedy goes.”

Gwen Taylor is played the title role in ITV sitcom Barbara, Ann Foster in Coronation Street and has starred in Heartbeat, Class Act and Midsomer Murders. Her extensive theatre credits include: Michael Morpurgo’s Butterfly Lion, Driving Miss Daisy, Calendar Girls, Prick Up Your Ear and Shirley Valentine.

Keith Barron most recently starred in BBC’s Lapland playing a role which he then returned to in Being Eileen. He’s also known for Haggard and All Night Long and was a regular character on ITV’s Where the Heart Is. In 2007 Barron joined ITV1’s Coronation Street as George Trench.

Neil Stacy has appeared in many other television favourites including To Serve Them All My Days and Rumpole of the Bailey.