Dad's Army returns to Walmington

Dad's Army, by Jimmy Perry and David Croft, Colchester Mercury until Saturday.What a cracking idea. You can't have the original Dad's Army, so you find a cast that looks just like them.

David Henshall

Dad's Army, by Jimmy Perry and David Croft, Colchester Mercury until Saturday.

What a cracking idea. You can't have the original Dad's Army, so you find a cast that looks just like them. And not just any old lookalikes, because this is a team of good professionals who know just how big are the boots they are filling and who do the job with loving care.

These actors are aware of the special place Captain Mainwaring and his ill-assorted platoon have carved in the comic soul of the nation, so with a bit of make-up and a great deal of affectionate, devoted skill they waft us happily back to the wonderful world of wartime Walmington-on-Sea.


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Some of them get very close indeed to their famous home guard forerunners and they must have been very encouraged to receive the cheers, laughter and applause that greeted them as they marched on stage for the first time - a rare accolade.

Timothy Kightley's Mainwaring and David Warwick as Sergeant Wilson are very good. Warwick is almost better as John Le Mesurier than Le Mesurier was himself, with his cutting, sarcastic asides and that slight pull on his right ear as he turns away after a new triumph over his inept, pompous boss.

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Leslie Grantham with a spivvy tash is almost the dead spit of Private Walker, Kern Falconer spreads his usual doom as the Scot Frazer and Thomas Richardson copes very well with the silly, petulant Pike in a team that grows on you quite well as the show goes on.

We are treated to a couple of sketches not seen since the very early days of Dad's Army, stuff that no longer exists on film, only in script form and at least one episode that we know very well - where the platoon makes a hilarious mess of guarding the captured U-boat crew.

The first of the 'new' ones has Frazer and Jones (Richard Tate) in fierce competition over the rank of corporal and another shows the battle everyone wages, even the Brigadier, to keep Walker out of the regular army because the loss of his black market scotch. fags and silk stockings would be more than the local economy could stand.

The jokes come thick and fast as Glenn Miller plays and Very Lynn sings in a show that is never less than entertaining and often very funny. And, it seems, a lot of people are looking for a laugh because there are only a few seats left for the rest of this week's performances.

David Henshall

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