Based on the war memoirs of Spike Milligan, adapted for the stage by Ben Power and Tim Carroll
Directed by Tim Carroll
Venue: Chichester Festival Theatre
Date: Saturday 24th October 2009
This was a wonderful music-and-humour-fest of Spike Milligan’s writings, at least the part relating to his war experiences. The singing and dancing were superb, the humour was patchy, but still very good, and the anarchic style fitted very well with the style of the writing. My biggest problem was that I simply couldn’t make out a lot of the lines, as some of them were spoken, or even shouted while the band was playing, and this either drowned out the words or made them hard to distinguish. It seemed to be easier during the second half – don’t know if this was because they changed the balance or because we were more adjusted to it.
There was one bit of audience participation during the second half – trepidation amongst those of us (like me!) foolish enough to sit on the centre aisle – but a lovely young lady called Genevieve was tonight’s lucky participant. She correctly guessed, by looking at a playing card, which card it was! Much applause.
All the cast were hugely talented, of course, but the central role of Spike was played by a newcomer, Sholto Morgan, and if this is anything to go by, he’s got a great career ahead of him. Sadly, talent alone is not enough, so I just hope he gets the breaks he deserves. He conveyed Spike’s gangliness and wide-eyed innocent mischievousness brilliantly, as well as playing a mean trumpet.
I suspect the wide open spaces of the Festival Theatre may have been a bit too much for this production – perhaps the Minerva would have suited it better? – but at least it got a good audience, who were very appreciative of both the fun and the talent on display. Good luck for the rest of the run.
© 2009 Sheila Evans at ilovetheatre.me