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Compton Players - Dad's Army

10th to 12th and 16th to 18th November 2005.

From the Newbury Weekly News.

Don't tell him, Pike - it's the best of Dad's Army

Compton Players: Dad's Army, at The Coronation Hall, Compton, from Thursday, November 10 to Saturday, November 12 and Wednesday, November 16 to Friday, November 18

The hall was transformed into a Walmington-on-Sea air raid shelter for Compton Players' version of Dad's Army - four playlets based on the television series by Jimmy Perry and David Croft - directed by Ian Hickling.

The first playlet was based on the capture of a U-boat crew, who are held captive by the Home Guard. For me this was the best episode, when Pike offers the classic Whistle While You Work and when the U-boat captain (played by the director) asks for his name and Captain Mainwaring - played not quite as pompously as I would have liked by Nick Roberts - responds "Don't tell him Pike".

Eric Saxton as Sgt Wilson was a perfect foil, with his sardonic glances and sarcastic quips. H Connolly was L/Cpl Jones to a T and I was impressed with the way that he managed to be one step out all the time.

Mark Moss as Pike was a little monosyllabic, but his timing was impeccable. Paul Shave as Fraser and Phil Prior as Walker were excellent, as was David Smith as the hapless Godfrey.

The clever use of the stage as one area of the village and the auditorium as the church hall was an excellent idea.

In the other plays the wives and girlfriends of the home guard were well portrayed. I thought they were very good, especially Ruth Brown and Brenda Prior, although it seemed a pity that they could not have had a more prominent role, until it sunk in that the U-boat crew were also the female cast, very well disguised.

I understand that one of them had been taken ill and that may have explained the long breaks between the playlets. While we were encouraged to join in with the music played in the breaks, it could have been less half-hearted if we had we known what we were going to sing.

Overall, it was a very good attempt and all credit to the backstage crew for the set design, costumes, props and sound.

As we left, the ack ack sounds could be heard - not a new war, just fireworks, but a fitting end.