Derren Litten’s smash-hit ITV comedy Benidorm hits the theatres in what could be the series’ farewell. Its stage debut took off alongside the news that there are unlikely to be any new episodes on TV.
If that’s the case, then Janine Duvitski (Jacqueline) feels that the theatre tour will prove the perfect curtain-call. It plays Theatre Royal Brighton from Mon, February 25-Saturday, March 2.
“We heard that we probably would not be making more just before we started (the stage show), so it is good that this show is really quite a celebration of Benidorm. We have had lots of other people from the cast coming along and saying that they feel quite emotional. It’s partly because they have been part of it, but also partly because this might be the last time. Some of them have been saying that they would want to be up there on stage with us!”
Creator and now producer Derren Litten has written an all-new set of Alicante escapades for the cast.
“And the response has been very positive,” Janine says. “You know there will be people coming who have hardly seen the series or don’t know it at all, but there is nothing that they wouldn’t be able to follow. And at the end, it is still a feel-good evening out!” Janine admits she really didn’t know what to expect when the stage tour started out on its journey in Newcastle last September: “But it has really worked. Derren was an actor and he has done theatre, and I think like any writer he likes going to the theatre and seeing things. He was wanting to write something for the stage. It was a dream of his. At first he was approached to do some sort of arena-type tour, which would have been exciting with so many people there, but we would have been like a dot at the back. With the play, we are still playing quite large venues, but we feel much more involved with the audience.”
Janine feels the principal characters in the play had to be played by the actors who had inhabited them on the screen: “People know the characters really well, and we have had very good audience figures. We have had millions of viewers, so yes, I do think it needed the original actors.”
However, Janine wasn’t immediately sure she wanted to do it: “I wasn’t sure I would be able to maintain a long tour. I am 66, and it is quite strenuous. We are travelling on our day off, and I was thinking that if I wasn’t fit enough to be able to maintain it, I didn’t want to be letting down people who were coming to see my character. But so far so good! I think that when the offer first came through, I was in bed with a bad cold, and you always think you don’t want to do something when you have got a cold, but then a few days later, I was feeling better and I just thought that I would give it a go. I didn’t know how they were going to do it, but we have got a very brilliant and rather clever set which is able to tour as well as do everything.”