Friday, 14 December 2007

Dads Army - Lowry Theatre

Dads Army by Jimmy Perry & David Croft
The Lowry Theatre
: 11th Dec - 5th Jan 08
Directed by James Robert Carson
Reviewed by Mal Wallace

For those of you wanting something a little different this Christmas, ‘Dad’s Army’ at the Lowry is the ideal alternative to the usual array of fairytale plays, pantomimes and Dickens inspired musicals.

The show succeeds on every level offering die hard fans a satisfying nostalgic trip down memory lane, whilst also catering for the uninitiated to this classic television sitcom. Billed as ‘the lost episodes’, the show unites three rare episodes with one enduringly popular one, originally transmitted in 1969, and it’s astonishing that the scripts written by Jimmy Perry and David Croft are, after all these years, still found to be slick, sharp and incredibly funny. Particularly comical is the final episode, ‘The Deadly Attachment’ which, as an ensemble piece of theatre, borders on farcical genius.

The cast are uniformly excellent and pay a respectful homage to the classic characterisations whilst never crossing the fine boundary into caricature. Special mention must, however, be given to Kern Falconer who, as Private Frazer, nearly steals the show with his wicked remarks and outrageous facial expressions. Also strong is the supporting cast who play a variety of roles showing what a diverse and talented group of actors this production can boast.

Director James Robert Carson makes full use of the simple but effective set by Nancy Surman, which provides the perfect backing to this character led show. This ensures that there is never any confusion over where the setting is for each scene. Some shrewd lighting designs attributable to Bob Bustance serve to enhance this clarity and credit to Glen Hadley who, as Sound Designer, makes appropriate use of the famous theme song and other incidental music. Continuing into January, Dad’s Army looks set to be a well deserved sell out. The audience at press night had a scream and obviously thoroughly appreciated the quality writing, performing and overall theatre experience. One not to be missed!

Photos by Robert Workman

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