The trouble with amateur companies putting on stage versions of hit television shows such as Jimmy Perry and David Croft’s Dad’s Army is that good actors with even better impersonation skills are required. That’s not to say that it can’t be done, but it is not easy, especially when the stretch to get actors is quite difficult, resulting in young boys playing the Verger and young females taking male roles such as Warden Hodges.
The standout performance in this reincarnation of the Home Guard of Walmington On Sea is Ken Nixon as young, naive film-buff Private Pike: if one was to close one’s eyes, they would swear that the original Pike, actor Ian Lavendar, had walked on stage – even Nixon’s movement and characterisation is spot on. He is followed fairly closely by Clint Mullins as Lance Corporal Jones (‘They don’t like it up ‘em, you know”); while Stephen Popowski works his way into Captain Mainwaring but lacks Arthur Lowe’s beautifully honed pomposity.
The rest of the famous fighters are portrayed with less success for various reasons however, Linda Lawson in the roles of Mrs Fox and Mrs Gray is absolutely wonderful. Her scenes in a tea shop and at the railway station with Popowski in the second story, Mum’s Army, display fine work indeed.
The three short stories – The Deadly Attachment, Mum’s Army and The Godiva Affair – are all based on three television episode scripts and rely on many scenes and locales to move the stories along, making scene changes numerous and potentially difficult. Director Brady Gambling has handled these fairly well, with a minimum of fuss.
Although not entirely successful, the night delivers a few laughs and a chance to be served by some of the nicest, friendliest front of house people in Adelaide amateur theatre.
Reviewed by Brian Godfrey
Venue: Port Noarlunga Arts Centre 22 Gawler Street, Port Noarlunga
Season: 22-29 November 2013
Duration: 2 hours 30 mins including 2 intervals
Tickets: $17.00 – $20.00
Bookings: Phone 0499 870 929 or book online through the Noarlunga Theatre Company website