Review of Viva’s production of ‘Dad’s Army’ at the Brook, Soham on Thursday 15th June 2017

Viva’s production of ‘Dad’s Army’ was splendid. The atmosphere of the times in the World Wars was cleverly created with video screen, props, scenery, an amazing collection of very familiar music from the times and, best of all, the characters that we know and love from the TV series of ‘Dad’s Army’. They were all there and even though it is extremely difficult to replicate the idiosyncrasies of particular people seen regularly by people on screen, this fine cast managed it very well.

Frazer’s outlandish prejudice against anything English, Pike’s perky comments and naivety, Wilson’s suave charm, Mainwaring’s determination to make a motley group of people succeed, Godfrey’s elderliness, Jone’s over excitement and fantastic imagination, a devious u-boat captain and lovely ladies who definitely looked the part and interrupted the gentle flow of events beautifully all helped make a wonderful show.  These characters were played by Geoff Fisher (Frazer), James Crussell (Pike), Rowan Maulder (Wilson), Rob Barton (Mainwaring), Vaughan Moll (Godfrey), David Tickner (Jones) and David Blyth (U-boat captain). Other vital members of the cast included Chloe Grimes (playing Mrs Pike), Sara Boor (Mrs Fox), Emma Gilbey (Ivy Samways), Kerry Hibbit (Edith Parish), Vicki Jelleyman (Mrs Hart), Mary Barns (Mrs Gray), David McCalpin (Private Sponge), Scott Robertson (Private Walker), Jenny Tayler-Surridge (Miss Ironside), Justine Whitworth (Mrs Prosser), James Wood (The Colonel), and piano accordion player Rob Heaven.

There were many other highly amusing characters and events that stood out including an excitable verger (Keith Gallois), a forthright Hodges (Andy Gillett), and the Town Clerk (David Moat) who appreciated women very much.

Particular highlights for me were the scene when Jones and Frazer came to blows during the Morris dancing, the inevitable ‘Don’t tell him Pike’ scene, the ‘Andrews Sisters’ singing Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy and a future ‘Vera Lynn’ singing ‘We’ll meet again’ at the end. They were wonderful.

Many members of the cast adeptly played numerous roles. The concert party and u-boat crew were essential groups that also included Sammy Williams and Judith Collingswood (concert party) and Lawrence Whitworth (u-boat crew).

Every innuendo of the script was deliciously explored and had the audience laughing in their seats. Congratulations must go to the director Frank Cosby and his team for this splendid production which provided a jolly good evening’s entertainment. Other Viva productions to enjoy include ‘The Bakewell Bake Off’ and ‘The Departure Lounge’ at The Brook, Soham on Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd July 2017. For tickets contact: vivayouth@hotmail.co.uk

 

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