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Friday, 6 July 2018

Review:Dads Army at Cardiff Open Air Theatre Festival


            *Thank you Everyman Theatre  for the tickets all opinions are my own and 100% honest *

'Dads Army' was created by David Croft and Jim Perry , inspired by Perry's own experiences in the Home Guard as a teenager prior to his call-up- Croft had been an ARP Warden prior to his call-up.
The character Private Pike was partly based upon teenage Jimmy Perry who said of his mother
' She didn't go as far as making me wear a scarf, but she came pretty near!'
The series won Perry and Croft the Writers Guild of Great Britain award in 1969,1970 and 1971, with David Croft also winning a Society of Film and Television Arts award in 1971 for his production and direction of the series (he performed both tasks on the majority of the episodes)
The theme song 'Who do you think you are kidding Mr Hitler?' as sung by Bud Flannagan was penned by Jim Perry and  won him an Ivor Novello Award in 1971
Perry and Croft were both awarded an  OBE in 1978.


Jimmy Perry and David Croft


Last night I attended the first performance of  Everyman Theatre's production  'Dads Army' as part of Cardiff's Open Air Theatre Festival .
I love the fact that within the venue there is a spacious bar (with an outside area ) plus The Grazing Shed is in attendance to tempt you to a variety of pre-show burgers( including vegan and vegetarian options)
The stage was cleverly set for the evenings performance incorporating the main hall, the tearoom and 'the office ' with a marvellous use of doorways - much to the hilarity of the audience ; even if the doors did not stick ( pardon the pun) to the script at times !




The show combines three classic episodes from three different periods of production with the culmative episode (after a 20 minute interval) offering  a memorable three way exchange
between Captain Mainwaring,Private Pike and a certain captive!
I have to commend all the cast on their characterisations of every character in this production - my personal favourite was Michael Morgan as Sergeant Wilson - a marvellous tribute to John Le Mesurier.The ladies shine as bright as the men in this production especially, I found personally, Clare Morgan as Mrs Fox and Amy Brooks as Mrs Pike.
I have always had a soft spot ( yes, it was a crush) for Private Walker ala James Beck , so when he passed away in 1973 at the age of 44- I , along with many , was devastated. However Ceris Jones' portrayal is a fabulous nod to that wonderful character.
Captain Mainwaring (Gregory Owens) 'Stupid Boy!' is in fine pompous form throughout ably supported by stalwarts Corporal Jones (Wayne Vincent) ' They don't like it up them!' , Private Fraser (Richard Watson)  'We're all doomed, DOOOOMED  I say!' and Private Godfrey(Clive Riches) 'May I be excused?'
My only criticisms would be the variable sound system as the tearoom scene was difficult to decipher in parts as was some of the other dialogue but this did not overshadow the performance in general - it was more of an annoyance. Also I felt the first half dipped somewhat - but then it does encompass two episodes as opposed to the final episode after the interval. Finally, this is just a personal observation ,but the audience assembled was 'of a certain age'(I include myself) so, although it was a lovely evening  it did veer towards feeling dated at times
The finale was a rousing speech by Captain Mainwaring (Gregory Owens) that started off with passion but ended in rapturous laughter....a fitting end to a tribute of the talents of  the writers, cast and crew of 'Dads Army' !!

'Dads Army' runs until 14th July Book Here.........









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