Taking a classic Tv comedy and performing several episodes on stage has become popular in recent years, there’s been Fawlty Towers, The Vicar of Dibley and Dad’s Army to name but just three. Incidentally all three have also been performed by local am drama group The Two Rivers Theatre Company.
With most productions the directors can change the performance to give us variations on the story, so we end up with Shakespeare for example set in modern times while still sticking to the original script… the same is not the case it seems with stage productions of Tv classic comedies. It would take a brave cast that would change these well loved characters.
Some productions almost take on a tribute act kind of feel. Great when it works but painful when it doesn’t. The audience at Two Rivers’ Dad’s Army don’t need to panic! The three episodes here stay faithful to the originals, both in the story but also in the leading character roles.
David Mitchell as Mainwaring controls the Walmington on Sea Home Guard in his pompous manner (Mitchell could afford to be a little more forceful as in the Arthur Lowe style, but is still enjoyable in the role).
Standout performances come from Darren Prentice as Pike (Ian Lavender would be proud of him); Steve Hutley as Cpl Jones is great and pays homage to Clive Dunn’s portrayal and Andy Boulden is convincing as Frazer with just his eyes alone.
They are supported by a very large cast all contributing to an enjoyable evening. The finale with the Floral Dance isn’t really necessary as it tends to over lengthen the piece.
I’ve said it before but will again, Two Rivers are one of our best local am dram groups and worthy of wider recognition!
At Sir John Mills until Saturday 16th September
Review Mark Keable, Ipswich24