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In character: From left, Sarah Barham, Marie Dorin, Melita Gizilis, and Charmaine Strickland rehearse an opening sequence

By PHILIP CHANDLER

If you’re in need of a laugh after the year we’ve just had, best head to the Queenstown Gardens this weekend.

Running with eight performances between tonight and Sunday afternoon, Remarkable Theatre’s 12th annual Gardens show, The Bright Side, features sketches from classic British TV comedies.

Think Fawlty Towers, The Two Ronnies, Rowan Atkinson and Not the Nine O’Clock News.

The show comprises three sketches in a row at four stations around the duck pond — the themes are ‘cons and charlatans’, ‘madmen and misfits’, ‘friends, lovers and liars’ and ‘bags, slags and hags’.

The four ‘acts’ are tied together by ‘‘little happy songs’’, and literary heroines lead the audience around to each station.

Creative director Jane Robertson says British comedy’s been a theme for at least two previous shows, ‘‘but all this material is new — British comedy’s such a rich source of material we’ve not even scratched the surface”.

“There is the overriding theme running through it of being happy’’.

Robertson, who’s remarkably performed in every Gardens show, is once again playing a larger-than-life character — she hints it’s ‘‘a certain vicar’’.

‘‘We’ve got a few surprises in this one and we have a very big prop we’re using.

‘‘We’ve also got a guest appearance from not an animal but something of that nature.’’

The show has about 60 roles played by a cast of 30.

‘‘Everybody plays at least two parts so you do have to suspend disbelief, but each character should be pretty distinctive.’’

Robertson says putting on a Gardens show is ‘‘like organising your wedding every year’’.

‘‘For the people who have never acted outside before it is quite challenging to be standing in a public place talking very loudly to the person who’s very close to you.’’

This time there’ll be a dry-weather venue if the weather gods don’t play their part.

The shows run 6pm and 8pm tonight and 2pm, 4pm and 6pm tomorrow and Sunday.

Entry’s by donation — an eftpos facility will be available.

scoop@scene.co.nz