One of London’s finest secret venues, the Crazy Coqs Cabaret & Bar at the stunning Brasserie Zedel is the perfect venue for the opening night of Dad’s Army Radio Show, a touring two-man production of that television (and radio) stalwart, Dad’s Army, which celebrated the contribution of the Local Defence Volunteers to the successful outcome of the Second World War.
Set in the fictional south coast town of Walmington-on-Sea, Dad’s Army was and is a phenomenon, hugely entertaining and enjoyable by all ages while probably helping to keep alive some of the sentiments that eventually played out in the Brexit referendum. First seen in 2017 in Edinburgh – with different episodes – man-of-a-thousand-voices David Benson and the equally talented Jack Lane are simply phenomenal, delivering near-flawless impressions of John Le Mesurier, Arthur Lowe and the rest of the cast.
This new production – possibly the final one – comprises three episodes: the less well-remembered ‘When You’ve Got To Go’ in which the “stupid boy”, Frank Pike, attempts to enlist in the Royal Air Force; and the all too familiar ‘Never Too Old’ in which – after 79 episodes over nine series – Jones the butcher marries Mildred Fox, Walmington femme fatale, and the cast toast Britain’s Home Guard; and the sublimely funny ‘My Brother and I’, about which its best to say nothing in advance. Inevitably, a little is lost in translation, not least possibly the best visual gag of the entire series, but this is nostalgic comedy at its very best… one can only imagine the reception Benson and Lane will receive when the tour reaches the fabulous Dad’s Army Museum at Thetford.
Highly recommended for fans of the original.
Review by Louis Mazzini
David Benson (‘Goodnight Sweetheart’ and ‘One Man, Two Guvnors’) and Jack Lane (‘Wisdom of a Fool’ and ‘7 Days’) transport the audience right back to Walmington, working from original radio scripts – complete with sound effects, vintage music and all of Perry and Croft’s beloved characters and catchphrases. Highly acclaimed by critics and by audiences of all ages.
‘When You’ve Got To Go’
Prviate Pike passes his call-up medical A1 (in spite of his chronically bad chest, his painful sinuses, his weak ankles and recently acquired nervous twitch). At the evening’s parade, Mainwaring and the platoon decide to celebrate Private Pike’s departure with a dinner in his honor at the local fish and chip restaurant.
‘My Brother and I’
Just as Captain Mainwaring gives the go-ahead for a sherry party with local dignitaries, his drunken brother, Barry, turns up to spoil the occasion.
‘Never Too Old’
The final ever episode of ‘Dad’s Army’, originally broadcast on Sunday 13 November 1977. The wedding reception of Lance Corporal Jones and Mrs Fox is interrupted as the platoon are put on full invasion alert.