Blackadder Goes Forth is one of my all time favourite TV series, so I was really looking forward to seeing this production from the Wychwood Players.

First impressions were good, excellent quality publicity material and an impressive set from Ben Curran and team. The stage is split between the trenches and the General's office, with the stage littered with what looked like period trunks and chests and paraphernalia we are all set to go.

The idea is to use three episodes of the series and make it into a two act play. This worked well and from the start the main protagonist Edmund Blackadder played by Mark Jessey was impressive. He captured the cynical war-weary approach to life that Blackadder injects into his troops and superiors with some style and for such a huge part there were no prompts for Mr Jessey on this, the first night. Well done Sir.

The first act told the story of an opportunity for someone to leave the trenches to become a war artist. Captain Blackadder naturally jumps at this chance and commandeers a painting by his Lieutenant, telling the General he had painted it much to Lieutenant George's chagrin.

Congratulations must go to Director Richard Dreyer putting this production together with so many moves, props and scene changes plus sound & lighting plots. This is especially difficult when the television version is so well known and therefore continually compared with this amateur performance.

In accordance with this thinking Richard J Hartley as Lieutenant George was remarkable. He could have been the understudy for Hugh Laurie who was so good in the television role, he'd captured the voice, the stuttering and his over enthusiastic approach to the war spot on.

When a programme has been as successful as Blackadder, it's no good trying to play the parts on any other way than the original. It was here that Steve Colter failed as Baldrick. All others were allying themselves to the TV characters but Steve's translation of the role was from another production altogether. He bore no resemblance to the part made so famous by Tony Robinson. He didn't dress like him and certainly didn't sound like the Baldrick we are all so familiar with. He also lacked confidence in his lines and the humour of the role. Nothing personnel Steve.

General Melchett played by Ralph Wears had all Stephen Fry's mannerisms but made the part his own despite his strange hirsute appendages.

Phillip Croxson made an very acceptable Captain Darling, the smarmy pen pushing office waller who creeps around the General.

The supporting cast looked the parts complete with period uniforms complete with puttees and rifles. It was good to see amateur drama aficionado Nick O'Keeffe still treading the boards as Sergeant Humphreys. He's been in am dram even longer than me.

The first and second acts share the story of Blackadder's Court Martial for shooting a carrier pigeon and the final tale is the one everyone remembers where the cast 'go over the top'. This to me is one of the finest pieces of comedy drama ever written by Richard Curtis & Ben Elton here at their creative peak. How do you portray this action in a comedy series without offending anyone? They managed it amazingly well as did the Wychwood Players. This is my first visit to this talented am dram group, I hope it won't be my last.