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25th Jun, 2022

Dad's Army back at the Norbury by popular demand

Droitwich Editorial 29th Sep, 2014 Updated: 17th Oct, 2016

THE PRODUCTION of Dad’s Army went down a storm at Droitwich’s Norbury Theatre earlier in the year.

And, due to popular demand, the popular show, which centres around the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard, returns to the venue from October 15 to October 18.

Performances of the show are at 7.30pm each evening.

For more, and to buy tickets, visit http://norburytheatre.eu/?page_id=3598 or call the box office on 01905 770154.

We reviewed the show during its run and our original review is below.

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Taken back to the 40s by Dad’s Army at the Norbury

YOU could tell even before the show started the audience at the Norbury Theatre’s production of Dad’s Army wanted to be entertained and they were not disappointed.

From the moment the well-known and much-loved theme tune played, they were clapping along and there was laughter as the curtain went up to reveal the popular platoon, even before a word was spoken.

The familiarity of the characters provided plenty of humour – from Jones’ out-of-time drills and Frazer’s bolshie attitude to Sgt Wilson’s passiveness and Cptn Mainwaring’s insecurities.

This comedy is all about the contrast of the characters and the Norbury cast portrayed it perfectly.

The good thing about the three episodes in the Dad’s Army stage play is that they gave plenty of opportunity for different characters to take the limelight.

The pick of the performers included Tom Weir as Pvt Frazer and Ian Thompson as Cptn Mainwaring who put in solid performances throughout. Glenys Smith also impressed as the promiscuous Mrs Fox.

But, many others embodied their roles too on what was a great evening.

Graham Taylor as L/Cpl Jones and Matthew Jeffrey as Pvt Pike were excellent in the first episode – The Deadly attachment. They encapsulated the characters they were playing and provided plenty of laughs for the crowd to enjoy.

Anne Lane made the part of Mrs Gray her own in Mum’s Army. The interaction between her and Thompson as Mainwaring was incredible.

During the moving and melancholic scenes at the end of the episode when the pair bid a fond farewell to each other, you could hear a pin drop in the auditorium.

James Cowlishaw as Sgt Wilson was the next to step forward in The Godiva Affair and was involved in plenty of comedic moments – most notably when he manoeuvred the white pantomime style horse in and out of the situations that developed.

The highlight of this episode though was the Morris dance which was wonderfully choreographed and had those watching chuckling along.

There were some lengthy scene changes for the backstage staff to sort out and that gave the cast the chance to add another dimension to the play.

They were covered by several interesting interludes boasting sing-a-longs, dances and situations which would have been commonplace at the time of the Second World War. The pick of those was the three cleaners discussing what to put in a letter to one of their sons on the front-line.

This production was primarily about the comedy, but it was much more than that. It was about life in war-torn Britain.

The playing of Churchill’s famous ‘We’ll fight them on the beaches’ speech, accompanied by classical music, and Mainwaring’s closing address about the Local Defence Volunteers were very poignant moments and put the ‘pretend soldiers’ antics in context.

Some theatre groups forget about front of house opportunities but the group got that right as well. 1940s newspaper reports, Union Flag bunting, wartime pictures and Government information posters adorned the foyer, taking those who went to see the play back to the era as soon as they walked through the door.

Overall this show had the perfect mix of fun, folly and food for thought, having the audience laughing, gasping and even close to tears in parts – a truly homely Home Guard production.

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