Dad's Army Radio Show (on tour)

I knew I was going to like it.  I'm a fan you see. If you're over the age of 40 you are most likely to be too. 

Like most people I watched it with my family and always remember how much fun it was. A few years ago, I then noticed a casting at my local theatre for the stage play.  I had to go for it. Being a Scot, it was Private Frazer "We're Doomed".  So I stuck a bit of grey colour on my hair, donned the army uniform and had a blast performing the role.

That was the stage play, but how will the "radio show" hold up ?  Well, it's different, but equally enjoyable. What you lose out on in a wide range of different characters, stage set, props and action, you gain in sound effects, first class accents and a faster pace.

In just under an hour our dynamic duo, each playing a host of characters, rattled through two radio shows originally written and performed as such. There was a nice surprise at the end which I'll explain at the end of this review.

Meantime, taking on the hot seat with the most difficult range of Mainwaring, Pike and Jones, was Jack Lane often in back to back sentences with each of the characters and having to flit in and out of the high, medium and low tones. He did it with a smooth and comfortable interaction with script, audience and microphone using distance, facial expressions and timing with sound effects as his performance tools. 

He was ably supported by David Benson, who took on the Wilson, Frazer, Walker, Verger and Vicar roles. His Frazer wasn't as good as mine of course as a native Scotsman (tongue firmly under cheek), but he got the characteristics of it down well enough with the rolling 'r's and instead of DOOOOOMED, it was EXPOOOOSED. The audience loved it. His Wilson had a perfect tone and pace, and his Vicar/Verger combo was spot on, and got a big laugh on most occasions. This was largely due to the infamous audience member in the front row.

Frank Williams, played the Vicar and was watching on. David announced him at the beginning of the show, to much applause. At 88, he is the oldest of the two surviving members of the original cast. In the Q&A at the end he was asked about Ian Lavender (73) whom he had met 6 months ago. 

I was able to film the Q&A which I thought may be quite dry, but it turned out to be an amazing insight which I think fans will like, so I decided to publish it here for that reason.

As a fan, it was an incredible night and everyone in the audience felt that way too. The added bonus of a chat with Frank Williams is something that you are unlikely to get but in place there's a 3rd play which you'll get to hear.

Dad's Army Radio Show will be performing across the North and South of England and Isle of Man from now until June 2020.

Douglas McFarlane is founder of UK Theatre Network and former Private Frazer stage performer.