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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | November 29, 2021

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Gary Farmer: Ready To Serve You At Sandgate Theatre Inc.

Gary Farmer: Ready To Serve You At Sandgate Theatre Inc.

| On 15, Nov 2016

Nostalgia is a powerful tool. It takes a special kind of classic to reel us in and worm its way into our hearts. But that’s exactly what those good ol’ television shows and films have done and now we can’t get enough of them.

Are You Being Served? is one such gem. Hailing from the UK during the 1970s and 80s, the misadventures of the staff at the Grace Brothers department store can now be enjoyed on our humble Brisbane stage in 2016.

For UK-born actor Gary Farmer, taking to the stage to play the “flamboyant” and “pivotal” Mr Humphries, not for the first time, has been a “good ride”. Having first found a break on the British soapie, Hillcrest as Jamie Martin, Gary, a Stratford-Upon-Avon native later studied English and Drama before moving down under. This is his first time with Sandgate Theatre, having previously performed with other companies such as the Brisbane Arts Theatre and Mira Ball Productions. Gary found the unfamiliar theatre troupe of Sandgate Theatre Inc. a bit of a “challenge…I didn’t actually know anyone which was a challenge at first…They’re really good and the backstage crew are really nice as well…We’re all a little family now which is great.”


Fans of the original series who remember the antics of this comedic bunch are bound to be satisfied by the characterisations and “caricatures” in this production, with the cast and creative team doing their level best to re-create them accurately. Nevertheless, there will be a newer element to this production with the characters managing to find themselves in new settings and scenarios. “All the characters are the same…the first half is set in the Grace Brothers department store and then we all go to Spain and introduce a few new characters…but it’s basically the TV show on the stage.” The show has not been without its challenges but the actors are feeling optimistic about their season – “obviously people will expect British actors and everyone’s Australian and so that’s different. And everybody’s doing really really well, in keeping up their characterisations and their British accents. Whereas it’s easy for me to do my British accent because I’m obviously from the UK. But it’s a lot more like a slapstick, tongue in cheek, comedy in the stage version.”

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the show and are wondering what it represents, it’s filled with a very “cheeky” humour peppered with “double entendres” in a 1970s fashion. In this staged production of Jeremy Lloyd’s work, the troupe have worked hard to maintain the vintage humour and comedic themes “the jokes are very 1970s/80s. They are very tongue in cheek, double entendre…Mrs Slocombe’s pussy is in it a few times. And obviously Mr Humphries, he’s never actually referred to as a gay character, but… it’s implied that he is, we’ve tried to keep it that way as well.”




This production is also quite unique in that audience members are permitted to bring with them dinner and drinks into the auditorium. “So just bring…food and pop it on the table and there’s people there to help [the audience] with their food and also the drinks – it’s BYO so that’s good – and we also have a coffee bar where you can buy chocolate and cakes and things like that.”

So whether you are fans of this timeless classic, curious to know more about it or are just simply hungry some good old-fashioned comedy, Sandgate Theatre Inc. may very well be the destination for you this November.

What Are You Being Served?

Where Sandgate Theatre Inc

When November 18-27

How Much $10-22

Find out more about the event here

Images Supplied