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Drop The Dead Donkey, the cult classic sitcom set at fictional news channel GlobeLink, aired between 1990 and 1998. Thirty years later, the original cast have returned in a brand-new stage play - subtitled The Reawakening.

Much has changed over the last 30 years, but the GlobeLink News team (now disbanded) have been summoned to new station Truth News and promised a staggering amount of money. Hapless editor George (Jeff Rawle) sets the pace immediately, having an altercation with a ‘smart’ coffee machine. He is soon joined by Dave (Neil Pearson), who’s given up drinking, gambling and womanising, much to everyone’s surprise, and one-time Assistant Editor Helen (Ingrid Lacey), who has fallen on hard times, taking the job against her better judgement.

Vapid and vicious news anchor Sally Smedley (Victoria Wicks), unscrupulous field correspondent Damien Day (Stephen Tompkinson) and cynical Joy Merryweather (Susannah Doyle) all reappear. The erstwhile chief exec, Gus (Robert Duncan), has used technological subterfuge to bring the old crew back together, and has become obsessed with the all-knowing Algorithm.

The cast is completed by glamorous Mairead (Julia Hills) and Rita (Kerena Jagpal), an unpaid intern who does the weather forecast. It’s a joy to see the original cast back in their well-established roles, and fans of the TV series will surely leave the theatre feeling nostalgic.

The play is written by the award-winning duo who penned the TV series: Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin. It’s clear that they have taken great care to plot out what has happened to each character in the 30-year interim - and the humour will be very familiar to anyone who enjoyed the show, with plenty of topical moments dropped in along the way.

The story provides a commentary on the ever-changing and disconcerting nature of news broadcasting. While Globelink News was hardly a paragon of journalism in the 90s, the news landscape has changed enormously in the face of clickbait, social media, and Gus’ precious Algorithm. Even the shamelessly deceitful, self-confessed ‘liar’ Damien stands up for honesty in news broadcasting, with a speech encapsulating the message of the play.

The show is primarily aimed at Drop The Dead Donkey’s original audience, offering a nostalgic dive back into the lives of familiar characters. While the uninitiated may want to watch a few episodes to get into the swing of it, the audience laughed, cheered and clapped the whole way through.

Five Stars

Drop The Dead Donkey: The Reawakening was reviewed by Jessica Clixby on Tuesday 16 April at The Alexandra, Birmingham, where it plays until Saturday 20 April.