AN amateur dramatics group from Offord will make theatre history next month.

AN amateur dramatics group from Offord will make theatre history next month.

The Offord Players (TOPS) will be the first amateur group anywhere in the world to perform Eric Chappell's brand new play Wife after Death.

The author, famous for writing comedy gold like Rising Damp and Only When I Laugh, gave his blessing to the group staging the show after being approached by play director Ruth Black.

Mrs Black told The Hunts Post: "I saw the show in Cambridge over a year ago with Tom Conti in the lead role.

"I enjoyed it so much that I e-mailed Eric to tell him and to ask when it would be available for amateur groups to perform.

"He went out of his way to make it possible for us to stage it, and has been very supportive throughout."

Eric Chappell became a household name during the 1970's and 80's writing legendary sitcoms which dominated British television for three decades.

With over 20 plays to his name, Wife after Death is the latest in a long line of hits to emerge from the Chappell comedy stable.

Speaking to The Hunts Post Mr Chappell said: "After being in television for 20 years, it's a joy to write for a live audience.

"I am very much looking forward to seeing the play performed by the Offord Players because there are some extremely good amateur theatre groups out there."

Mr Chappell said that very little had changed in comedy over the past 30 years, apart from the language.

"The only difference between my plays and plays written today is that I don't use as much foul language," he said.

"Many people who go to see plays outside of London are appalled by the foulness of the language, and it's a real writing discipline not to use it."

INFORMATION: The Offord Players are performing Wife after Death at Offord village hall from Thursday, May 12 to Saturday, May 14. Tickets £8, available from 01480 810049, 01480 811798 and the Offord village store.