Dad's Army ★★★ Various venues (on tour) | Sep 3 - Oct 21, 2021


Dad's Army is part of TV history, having been shown from 1968-77. Here we have two of David Croft and Jimmy Perry's late episodes as adapted for radio. David Benson and Jack Lane play all the characters and have boundless energy; their impersonations are quite superb. There is, however, one hurdle even these talented performers cannot surmount: the scripts just aren't funny without visual aid. Throughout both episodes whilst one 'felt' the audience smiling wryly, there were no laugh-out-loud moments – except on a couple of occasions when things didn't quite go to plan. Much of the humour in the original came from visual gags with all the characters looking silly in various ways; when reduced to just the bare bones of the writing, it seemed that too much had been lost in translation. On the positive side, the performances are great – Lane's Corporal Jones was particularly accurate with every nuance and vocal mannerism spot on. Sergeant Wilson was always actually in charge of proceedings and Benson did a great job at bringing him back to life. He also made a delightfully camp Vicar. It is difficult to work out exactly who this show is aimed at, especially in the light of the 2016 film's failure. Arthur Lowe, the original Captain Mainwaring, was actually surprised at the success of the TV series and felt that it might have had limited appeal even back then. Now, almost 80 years after the events depicted, there can be little more than good-hearted nostalgia.

Rated: ★★★

Reviewed by D.S.J.

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