Dad’s Army Radio Show, 2 Stars

Dad’s Army Radio Show
Wiltons Music Hall
22nd to 26th Jan 2019

“Two acclaimed actors play 25 characters in this brilliant staging of three classic Dad’s Army radio episodes based on favourite scripts from the original TV series. Dad’s Army Radio Show celebrates 50 years of Jimmy Perry and David Croft’s quintessential sitcom, which won the Best One-Liner accolade in a poll of comedians conducted by digital channel Gold, with the immortal words “Don’t tell him, Pike” from The Deadly Attachment episode.

Dad’s Army Radio Show will run for a week at Wilton’s Music Hall from Tuesday 22 January to Saturday 26 January, 2019 prior to a 20-date UK tour – full details to be announced.

This London run coincides with news that three long-lost Dad’s Army episodes wiped by the BBC – Under Fire, A Stripe for Frazer and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Walker – are to be remade with an all-star cast by Gold in 2019.

Double Fringe First Award winner David Benson (star of Think No Evil Of Us: My Life With Kenneth Williams and Boris: World King) and Jack Lane (Wisdom Of A Fool) present a selection of classic radio episodes, based on the BBC Radio 4 radio adaptations created by Michael Snoad and Harold Knowles, featuring favourite lines, cherished characters and great feats of vocal impersonation!”

Review by Richard Lambert, 2 Stars

The classic comedy we all grew up with is brought to the stage with a UK Tour. Written by Jimmy Perry and David Croft it holds a nostalgic place in our hearts.

Titling this a “Radio Show” allows the production to be performed stripped back. But if you’re hoping to be the audience in the radio station watching how they create all those wonderful Sounds we’ve grown to expect of a radio play then you’re going to be disappointed. The Sound Effects here, although done really well by Tom Lishman, are all pre-recorded and Cued from a touring laptop – very modern and very economical.

The characters are all well known to us – Pike, Captain Mainwaring, Wilson, Frazer, Jones – their mannerisms have been created and set by the original production. David Benson and Jack Lane are superb experts at impersonating these characters but it is a shame that they read the scripts from a file folder instead of learning them. Stood throughout in front of 2 old-fashioned Mic Stands,and folding music stands for their scripts, its a tough sell to listen to 3 seperate episodes done without any set, lighting, props, movement, or costume change.

Wiltons is the most wonderful Music Hall in London and well worth visiting! But we’re watching a large empty stage lit in rear blue wash (very Fringe). There are only 2 side lights and 4 front spots to light the 2 performers stood on a dropped apron forestage, there’s very little to commend this production except the excellent performances. But is this enough?