Review: Drop The Dead Donkey: The Reawakening at Milton Keynes Theatre
Drop The Dead Donkey - Mar 24

Reawakening the outstanding sitcom from way back when in the 1990’s and reimagining it to a live stage show… surely that’s impossible? But BREAKING NEWS, they did it

The glorious broadcasting sitcom created by Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin, makes the news in Milton Keynes this week as the stellar original cast reunite 30 years on.  As times change, so does the news and the accessibility to it, modern technology is thrust upon the team as is PC attitudes and accountability. Can they adapt, will they even want to?

TRUTH NEWS, the hot desking, social media servant, modern diversisity ( not a typo ) and algorithm led station blasts onto the screens. Dubious backers pouring money into this parody of a show – have we seen such catastrophic shows recently? They all get a jolly jibe…

Cast with most of the original characters, who earned rousing rounds of audience applause as we welcomed them on stage, this award winning comedy got going live.

Drop The Dead Donkey - March 24

They fit back together as brilliantly as they ever did with office bants, questionable promotions, false friendliness and egos and ethics battling for newsworthy supremacy.

Constant one liners, gags both groan worthy and wonderful, are peppered with the latest news stories as headlines flow, it’s a riot of chaos, cynicism, satire and deadpan humour.

Fantastic script writing reminiscent of the good old sitcom whereby contemporary storylines were written right up till screening making it all the more realistic. Thank goodness our ‘news’ always delivers the gift of a good story (!).

Ahead of its time then, and probably still now, the reawakening binds classic nostalgia with current trends and topical criticisms of broadcasting standards and belief. In an age of FAKE NEWS we see how stories are suppressed, retold and resold as the journalists gasp and grasp for headliners, after all, Viewing Figures Matter !

As the plot unfolds we learn a little more about some of our favourite troupe, some inevitably dastardly perfect, others gentle and kind. All are exactly who you want them to be.

I enjoyed the casting, Joy, oh so gloriously wicked back then takes THAT to a whole new level, Dave, yep, still crushing on that one. Gus, the blundering mouth that runs away with utter blather. Sally, the epitome of arrogance and shallowness. Lovely reliable Helen, or is she? George, still forever hapless but adorable and Damien, well ! Has he no ethics, no boundaries, no integrity? Ah, but he does have his faithful teddy bear which alone caused great mirth amongst us who remember the originals.

We met Rita, a new character, a weather gi – presenter who’s stage time was perhaps limited but the director held true to the original comedy and delivered the best and worst of DTDD as we know and love it.

Overall, this is a jolly good show.  Don’t over analyse it, just enjoy it, nostalgic nonsense at its absolute best.


Director Derek Bond
Susannah Doyle – Joy
Robert Duncan – Gus
Ingrid Lacey – Helen
Neil Pearson – Dave
Jeff Rawle – George
Stephen Tompkinson – Damien
Victoria Wicks – Sally
Julia Hills – Mairead
Kerena Jagpal = Rita

And a beautiful nod of remembrance on screen to David Swift and Haydn Gwynne.

Drop The Dead Donkey: The Reawakening is at Milton Keynes Theatre 12th-16th March 2024.  Matinee performances are on 13th & 6th March, and the running time is 2 hours and 10 minutes including interval. Tickets are available from £13.00 (+ £3.80 transaction fee), General bookings: 0844 871 7615, Access bookings:0333 009 5399, Group bookings:0207 206 1174 or online.

Reviewed by: