'Viz' comic in unlikely alliance with RSC

The team behind such immortal creations as The Fat Slags, Johnny Fartpants and Sid The Sexist is going all luvvie. Viz, the mature comic loved by students and perpetual adolescents, is planning a collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).

The unlikely pairing has been sparked by the theatre company's wish to maintain the Bard's relevance to the modern world - and also get some publicity for a season of the writer's comedies.

The Observer reports that the RSC approached the comic's co-editor, Graham Dury, earlier this year and he has visited the company at its Stratford-upon-Avon base to discuss the project. The partnership will not involve anything quite so vulgar as classical actresses applying purple leg blotches, fat suits and micro-dresses to play Sharon and Tracy. Instead, cartoonists will sketch the RSC's backstage staff and the images will be included in the sets for productions during the comedy season, which runs in Stratford until October before transferring to London.

"We don't know anything about Shakespeare," said Mr Dury. "But some of Shakespeare's jokes are a bit dated and people say Viz's are as well, so it seemed like a good match."

The last time Viz was involved in a dramatic collaboration, it ended in disaster. The movie version of Fat Slags was a flop and the artist who illustrated the strip was so incensed at the result that he threatened to pull the plug on the strip. He later had a change of heart.