Tuesday 14 June 2011

The RSC, Blake's 7 (Ages of Man), and Paul Darrow

I’ve been sent tickets for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Blake’s 7 (Ages of Man). It’s not the first time sci-fi has tackled Shakespeare of course. Most famously the classic Forbidden Planet is taken almost entirely from his last play The Tempest, wherein Prospero opens a comic shop in Denmark Street (remade in '91 as Propero's Comics). But now and the favour is being returned, for it is Blake’s 7 that is being taken and given the RSC treatment this summer.
Villa: Paul Darrow, a shot! Of his hand a ruin thou hast made!
Paul Darrow: Alas, t’was his head for which I aimed!
The cast is impressive, with the role of Sir Roger Blake taken by Sir Ian McKellen, Queen Servalina - Dame Judi Dench, with (and most excitingly for fans) Paul Darrow reprising his role of Paul Darrow from the original.
Gan: Where then are these goodly men?
Villa: I think thou look’st at them!
Paul Darrow: Alas!
A long production at eight hours, the interval between Acts III and IV sees Blake vanish entirely. Indeed this foreshadows the final moments when tricked by typical Shakespearian bluff, lies and a certain amount of cross-dressing Dame Paul Darrow executes Blake. The Queen’s Beefeaters arrive, the crew are gunned down and in a moment of true drama the curtain falls on Paul Darrow as stepping over the assassinated Blake he raises his pistol to face them, probably smirking. The lights are snuffed. A shot rings out.
Blake’s 7 (Ages of Man) is set to run from June 7th to August 21st, at the Paul Darrow Theatre, Paul Darrow-On-Avon.
Pictured: Paul Darrow


  1. That's going back a bit Forbidden Planet in Denmark St. - I used to get comics in brown paper bags, my mum was convinced I was buying porn. Imagine her disappointment to learn it was the X Men (back when it was big hair and everyone killing each other in tunnels).
    Apparently it was a need for bigger premises that prompted the move, but I reckon it was that kid forever pissing off a swing and someone 'phoned the council.

    Nostalgic,informative and awesome as ever. Funny too, cheers Alan

  2. Captain Britain fought Slaymaster there too y'know! They trashed the place so I always assumed that was the reason for the move.