Some will question whether this was Culture or 'culture?'. Anyway, we all enjoyed Dad's Army at the Lowry Theatre, followed by the Hallé Christmas Carol Concert at the Bridgewater Hall, which roused me a little as I had a very quiet and peaceful chair at the Lowry and missed a lot of the first half!
More to come on this...
(Some time later)
Dad’s Army, as indicated above, failed to hold my attention for a while, but I did enjoy the second half, especially the familiar U-Boat crew classic.
In the first of the lost episodes, which have only survived in the form of scripts, the platoon try to ensure that Pte Walker is not drafted into the war by giving him flat feet. Pte Walker (with a look-alike of the original actor performing the role), who supplied the Home Guard with contraband whisky and cigarettes, is made to jump repeatedly from a ladder into a bucket of water to scupper his medical test in the episode, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Walker.
In the second episode, entitled A Stripe for Fraser, Pte Fraser turns power-crazed after being given a promotion.
The stage show finished with the Deadly Attachment episode in which a German U-Boat captain is captured by the platoon. Captain Mainwaring shouts his famous "Don't tell him, Pike" line when the German officer is attempting to discover the identity of the platoon.
So, worth a visit if it comes your way…Philip Radcliffe’s following review from the Manchester Evening News is a pretty accurate résumé in my opinion.
Dad's Army @ The Lowry
IT’S a strange déjà vu experience watching old TV favourites, dead and gone, represented live on stage. Clearly, old soldiers never die, they just get re-cast to come back and haunt us.
It says much for scriptwriters Jimmy Perry and David Croft, creators of one of the nation’s favourite sitcoms for a decade in their affectionate send-up of the war-time bungling by the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard, that it is still richly entertaining 40 years on. Producer Ed O’Driscoll deserves credit for risking it. He and director James Robert Carson are entirely faithful to the original, not least in the brilliant lookalike casting. Inevitably, there is only an approximation to the likes of the great Arthur Lowe and John Le Mesurier and the rest – like an old master, a true original can only be copied - but it works a treat.
At first, you have a double take, watching the actors on stage whilst seeing in your mind’s eye the original inspired cast. But, gradually, you just become absorbed by the innocent pleasure. And the fun of familiarity brings extra delight – the established relationships, the well-worn catchphrases and the running gags.
The 15-strong cast, led by Colin Starkey as Mainwaring, David Warwick as Sgt Wilson, Richard Tate as Jones and Kern Falconer as Frazier, are a joy.
The show also does a service to our cultural history. Called Dad’s Army: The Lost Episodes, it restores four episodes first shown in 1969, including the captured U-Boat crew classic, not kept for posterity.
So the seven of us who went along were all in a good mood as we topped up with pizza, before five of us headed into town for a second dose of ‘culture?’ for the day. The Hallé orchestra and choir donned their usual Christmas finery and entertained us with their traditional mix of Christmas music and audience participation. This most enjoyable couple of hours was enhanced by a chance meeting with Linda and Clive, who we hadn’t seen for some time.