The Mid-Ohio Valley Players' latest production is based on a movie that's based on a popular British sitcom from the 1970s and '80s.
"Are You Being Served?" brings the oddball cast of London department store Grace Brothers to the local stage as they prepare to embark on a holiday while the store is remodeled.
"It's a TV show that I have been watching on PBS for years and fell in love with it," said George Wells, co-director of the production with Anita Newhart.
Photo submitted by Mid-Ohio Valley Players
Kathy Biery as Mrs. Slocombe and Don Geibel as Captain Peacock rehearse a scene from “Are You Being Served?” The play, based on a movie featuring characters from the British sitcom of the same name, opens Friday at the Mid-Ohio Valley Players Theatre.
The play features a lot of word play and innuendo, with what one character's saying often being completely misinterpreted by another, Wells said.
Rehearsals have been enjoyable, Wells said, and he's pleased with the efforts of the cast.
"They've really done everything they could to become these outlandish characters," he said, noting that includes adopting British and even Spanish accents.
Williamstown resident Kathy Biery takes on the role of Mrs. Betty Slocombe, a bossy sales lady with garishly colored hair. Biery said she was not familiar with the "Are You Being Served?" television show before landing the role.
"I like her. I liked her outrageousness," Biery said of the character. "I really prefer comedy. I think it's just my personality. I love to be silly on stage, and I love to make people laugh."
Unlike other roles she has played, Mrs. Slocombe and the other main characters in this production have been well established over time. In a way, Biery said, that makes her performance a bit easier, since there's less about the character she has to flesh out or fill in.
Biery is one member of a cast of 24, and the cast isn't the only part of the show being done on a large scale.
"With a show this big, there's a lot of intricate details," Wells said.
He praised the work of lighting designer Bill Haas, especially when it comes to the second half of the show, in which the characters find themselves in the middle of a revolution. Not only do some scenes take place at night, individual tents must be lit at different times.
"They've done an amazing job of creating this," Wells said.
There is also a wide array of sound effects. As many as possible will be done live, but there are a number pre-recorded, too, Wells said.