Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Don't Panic! Just head to St Albans (or Newcastle, or Great Malvern..)

Have you seen the new stage version of 'Dad's Army' yet? If not, don't panic, you've still got three weeks. It's at St Albans this week, Newcastle next week and Great Malvern the week after (tour dates can be found here).
I was lucky enough to see the show a couple of weeks back, and really can't recommend it highly enough. For the first few minutes it seemed strange to see Captain Mainwaring, Sgt Wilson and Lance-Corporal Jones not being played by Arthur Lowe, John Le Mesurier and Clive Dunn, but the actors who did play the parts (including Leslie Grantham as Walker) were quite terrific. The show lasts for over two hours (excluding the interval) and features two lost episodes: 'The Loneliness of the Long Distance Walker' and 'A Stripe for Frazer' combined with the extremely funny 'Room at the Bottom', in which Mainwaring loses his captaincy and serves as a Private, and the classic episode 'The Deadly Attachment', which features the immortal line:'Don't tell him, Pike'.

Give yourself a treat and go and see the show, and take your family and friends along too.

You'll come back not only having been supremely entertained, but also with that warm glow which comes from watching the affiliative and unashamedly nostalgic comedies of Jimmy Perry and David Croft. Dad's Army is comedy from a different, and it must be said, a much gentler and kinder, era.


Martin Meenagh said...

Excellent Neil, just excellent!

Anonymous said...

Dad's Army is comedy from a different, and it must be said, a much gentler and kinder, era.

Er... what exactly was "kinder and gentler" about the 1968-77 period?

It began with filmmakers openly pushing the sex-and-violence envelope for the first time (films like Performance, Straw Dogs, The Devils and A Clockwork Orange would have been inconceivable even as little as four or five years earlier), and it ended with the Sex Pistols' God Save The Queen racing up the charts, something that might well have attracted the death penalty for treason in an earlier age.

Meanwhile, the public flocked to tripe like the nasty, misogynist On the Buses and the truly miserable Confessions of a Window Cleaner, a sex comedy that failed comprehensively on both counts - both were the biggest domestic hits of their respective years.

Not to mention the fact that casual racism and sexism were far more prevalent than is the case today.

Seriously, Neil, I know you don't have an adult memory of the Seventies, so some rose-tinting is to be expected, but calling it "kinder and gentler" is just deranged.

Neil Clark said...

Yes, sure slapheads, we live in a much gentler and kinder era today.,21985,23757536-661,00.html

We could also talk about shows such as The Apprentice and Little Britain, or 'comedy' performers like Catherine Tate and Sacha Baron Cohen, who (like Lucas and Walliams) get their laughs from sneering at the 'oiks'.

You are right to say that the 70s was a less gentle era than the 60s or 50s, but it was still a much gentler and kinder era than today.

neil craig said...

It is interesting to think that the production of Dad's Army is now further in the past than WW2 was when it was filmed.

Perhaps a sign the cultural change has been less in the latter period.

Anonymous said...

Great to see the stage play getting some good coverage. I've seen the play four times now and it just keeps getting better.

Looking forward to the 40th anniversary celebrations later this year.


Producer of the Dad's Army Podcast

Neil Clark said...

Hi James,
Thanks for your comment and congratulations on the excellent Dad's Army podcast: I'm going to post a link to it on my blog front.
Kind regards, Neil