Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Dad's Army - Review - The People's Theatre

Dad’s Army is one of those TV classics that bring back childhood memories of evenings spent with the family in front of the TV. The characters are like old friends and there is always a concern that an attempt to reproduce them will be a disappointment, creating pale shadows or, worse still, missing the mark so far that the memories are ruined. Such fears were unfounded at the People’s Theatre. Their production of Dad’s Army (directed by Eileen Davidson) recreates those characters with uncanny accuracy!

The play begins with the company marching through the auditorium to the stage set with the Church Hall at Walmington on Sea, complete with Capt Mainwaring’s Office. As they reach the stage the characters are instantly recognisable. Even before a line had been spoken I could spot, Capt Mainwaring (Steve Robertson), Sergeant Wilson (Roger Liddle), Corporal Jones (Andrew De’Ath), Fraser (Mike Smith), Godfrey (Tony Childs), Pike (Sean Burnside) and the spiv Walker (Pete McAndrew).

The play covers three of the TV episodes beginning with the classic U-Boat prisoners of war, the poignant Mum’s Army in which Capt Mainwaring finds romance, and finally the hysterical Godiva Affair, complete with Morris Dancing). Each sketch captured the essence of the show, all the catch phrases, the blustering officiousness of Mainwaring, the suaveness of Sergeant Wilson, the stupid boyishness of Pike.

This was a big cast of characters and it would difficult, and unfair to single out particular performers: each one did a brilliant job of bringing their character to life on the stage. Favourite moments however have to be Fraser uttering those immortal words “he’s doomed!” and Sergeant Wilson galloping across the stage in his Morris dancing horse costume!

Live music was provided between the scenes by Rae Beckson and the Spitfires – singing golden oldies such as Run Rabbit, Whistle while you work, White cliffs of Dover, while the cast moved the props ready for the next scene. The music and lighting were expertly used to create atmosphere, to highlight the action, and separate the scenes.

This was a warm hearted and affectionate production of an old classic, and if the guffaws from the guy behind us were anything to go by, the audience fully appreciated it! A fine piece of nostalgic fun - well done to cast and crew.

Dad’s Army runs until the 14th July – if you enjoyed the TV show you will love this.

(Pictures by Paula Smart)
Denise Sparrowhawk

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  1. Fantastic review Denise, gutted to have missed it, and I can't get to it at any of the other productions.

    With that review tho, you really get a sense of what the characters would be getting up to. Any fluffed lines? because you know if there had of been, then that would have added to the brilliance of the sets.

    Gutted man...!!!

    Again FAB review
    Cheque is the in the post man!!!


  2. Thanks. It was really awfully good! No major fluffs, one or two little hiccups. But as the Spawn said, they were playing old people and old people always stumble over their words so it was!

  3. Your kid seems a good egg, would love to meet him one day and quiz the life out of him..

    I have been out tonight to watch the most amazing castle players (and please retweet anything and evertthing (the sluring and spelling mistooks are due to the bottle of red wine i had whilst watching it. As You Like It...I and I liked will be soooooo sooooo easy to write about, but want to sleep on it to see if i can distance a bit from it see if from the other angle , and see if it still was as good as it actually was...anyway rambling now...again Brilliant job..we shoulc chat more from here xx