Sitcom turned into stage show

Open All Hours
Open All Hours

What does a theatre director do when he wants to perform the much loved British classic Open All Hours but a script doesn’t exist?

He contacts the writer, gains permission and writes it himself.

That’s what Gary Simmons did. Last year was the 40th anniversary of the much loved comedy series so Gary made contact with Roy Clarke and set about adapting a show with his directing partner Jane Aston.

Gary said: “I think it’s fair to say we’ve become Open All Hours anoraks. We’ve watched every episode, visited the shop where the location filming happened and traced most props present in the TV show.”

Gary has relinquished the directorial reins in order to take the lead role of Arkwright. But learning the countless lines, including the ‘ster ster stutter’, has been not been easy.

Gary said: “Normally, Jane and I direct together, so to cross the fourth wall and be directed is quite different but I’m having a great time.

“If the audience have half as much fun watching as we’ve had in rehearsal they will be guaranteed a fantastic night out.”

The show premiers at the Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne, on Thursday, October 23, and runs until Saturday, October 25.

Shows take place at 7.45pm with a matinee performance on Saturday at 2.30pm. For tickets call 01323 412000 or visit www.eastbournetheatres.co.uk. Log on to www.openall
hours.uk.com.