Attenshun! Salute to company as Dad’s Army show delights the rank and file

Home Guard (from left): Captain Mainwaring ' Rob Goldie; Lance Corporal Jones ' Billy Jardine; Private Godfrey ' Jim Wallace; Private Walker ' Richard Millan; Private Frazer ' Ian Brotherston; Private Pike ' Merijns Schepins; Sergeant Wilson ' Peter Robertson.
Home Guard (from left): Captain Mainwaring ' Rob Goldie; Lance Corporal Jones ' Billy Jardine; Private Godfrey ' Jim Wallace; Private Walker ' Richard Millan; Private Frazer ' Ian Brotherston; Private Pike ' Merijns Schepins; Sergeant Wilson ' Peter Robertson.

Set in the fictional seaside town of Walmington on Sea, somewhere on the south coast of England, the Two Rivers Theatre Company’s production of Dad’s Army follows the hilarious exploits of a group of local Home Guard volunteers.

The first act, The Deadly Attachment, opens with the seven main characters – Captain Mainwaring (Rob Goldie) inspecting the platoon; Lance Coporal Jones – a local butcher (Billy Jardine); Private Frazer – a dour Scotsman (Ian Brotherston); Private Godfrey – the first aider (Jim Wallace); Private Pike – who is under conscription age (Merijn Schepins); Private Walker – a draft dodger (Richard Millan); and Sergeant Wilson – a bank employee (Peter Robertson).

Captain Mainwaring receives a phone call instructing the platoon to go to the harbour to take over the escort of some German U-boat prisoners and take them to the village to await collection by the army. Unfortunately, the soldiers were delayed and the German sailors manage to turn the tables and capture the platoon. From then on chaos ensued but in the end the Walmington platoon manages to save their honour.

The second act – Mum’s Army – has the group deciding to include women into the platoon to swell its numbers and several ladies, ably played by Pat Adam, Rachel Inglis, Anne Clark, Alison Seeley, Moira Boyd, Christine Lyon, Marie McSherry and Karen McKenna, are interviewed as to their suitability, and are duly put through their paces, chaotically learning how to come to attention and stand at ease. Captain Mainwaring is attracted to one of the ladies, Mrs Gray, played by Karen McKenna, and local tongues start to gossip about his relationship with her, and she finally decides to return to London.

The final act – The Floral Dance – is where the Home Guard holds a concert in the village hall, singing many of the songs from World War One and Two with the audience encouraged to join in a little competition with the venue divided to sing different songs at the same time and then switch over.

Although a little slow to start (due to first night nerves), I was taken back to when as a family we looked forward to the weekly episode. An entertaining trip down memory lane. I certainly remembered and enjoyed the gentle humour, the nostalgia and was impressed with the costumes and the attention to detail that accurately reflected that era.

Shelagh Duncan, producer, and the company, must be congratulated with the inspired casting of the whole company. The main actors not only had a passing resemblance of the original characters but sounded similar. The production team, the cast, the back-stage teams, sound and lighting, have a very funny show they should be proud of, and their hard work and dedication clearly show.

I recommend that you book your tickets right away.

– Chris Anderson

Tickets, priced £8, are available for tonight (Friday) and the final show tommorrow (Saturday), from ILF Imaging in the Sandbed or on the door.