Little Theatre Company

Live theatre in the heart of Burton upon Trent

Dad's Army

by Jimmy Perry and David Croft

Performed: June 2010

Dad's Army by Jimmy Perry and David Croft

Review by Dave Stacey


DAD’S Army was nostalgia to start with, when the popular TV comedy
series of 1968 to 1977 reminded us of the comradeship, courage and
humour of the Second World War years.

Now, memories of the shows themselves, with all their jokes and funny situations about the Home Guard, enable us to wallow in a double dose of nostalgia.

That is what Burton’s Brewhouse arts centre audiences are enjoying this week as the Little Theatre Company presents on stage the original Jimmy Perry-David Croft script masterpieces for three of the
80 TV episodes plus a sketch for a 1975 Royal Variety performance.

It’s laughter all the way, and such a joy to meet again pompous Captain Mainwaring, his stalwart platoon and the lively ladies of Walmington-on-Sea.

Mainwaring’s self-importance, his vanity and his reluctance to be the subject of local gossip or his wife’s displeasure are well put over by Ken Brown who also proved agile when a spot of clowning was needed as part of the characterisation.

The differing traits of Sergeant Wilson, Lance Corporal Jones and Privates Godfrey, Walker and Pike were vividly reflected by Phil Robinson, Mike Mear, Matt Bancroft, Craig Atkinson and
Daniel Tunks respectively.

A special treat was provided by Peter Clemson who was able to reproduce accurately the Scottish accent, the mannerisms and the revealing facial expressions that John Laurie gave to stingy doleful, scheming, Sassenach-scorning Private Frazer in the TV shows.

David Clarke was every bit as hateful as we wanted him to be as the U-Boat captain who, having been taken prisoner, was guarded by the platoon until amilitary escort could arrive.
By contrast he also appeared as Walmington-on-Sea’s long-suffering vicar.

Kay St Clair as a lady who stole Mainwaring’s heart, Sonja Wardle as Jonesie’s far-from-constant friend and Elaine Pritchard as Pike’s over-protective mum were among ladies who added greater depth to these well-loved tales.

The recorded voices of Bud Flanagan singing the signature tune — Who Do You Think You Are Kidding, Mr Hitler — and of other stars of wartime years, including George Formby and Vera Lynn, were a delight.

But the real musical treats came in a series of choir auditions conducted by the ARP warden and the verger (comically portrayed by Peter Banton and Adrian Bancroft); and then again when the entire cast gave us a resounding climax to the whole production.

As usual John Bowness never put a foot wrong in the direction of the show, which continues with performances every night at 7.30pm until Saturday and a matinee at 2.30pm on Saturday.


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