Dad's Army Afternoon Tea Hour at Pleasance at EICC - Platform 5 took us back to the times of a nation’s “darkest days and finest hours” courtesy of David Benson and Jack Lane as these two fine performers brought to life not only the whole of the “Dad’s Army” Platoon and main character cast, but also anyone else required for that Radio Episode. These radio episodes were adaptations of the earlier television scripts, but they still retain the magic of two of the best writers ever to work in British television, David Croft and James Perry, and their words have lost none of their magic with the passing of time since their original productions.
David Benson and Jack Lane are masters of their craft and magically bring to life not only the voices, but the mannerisms of the much loved cast of “Dad’s Army. Our two classic scripts in this show are from “Round and Round Went The Big Wheel” and “The Deadly Attachment” and, somehow, our two performers bring to life these scripts so well that I can see in my mind’s eye the original television episodes as they perform. I suppose that I have to admit here to being a big fan of the television series.
This year, the “radio show” format has a little twist to it with “Lunch Hour”, “Afternoon Tea Hour” and “Dinner Hour” options that you can add to your basic ticket option if you wish. All of these options are served up in a tent/marquee setting bedecked in red, white and blue to give the feeling of actually being inside a wartime canteen tent.
The “authentic setting” is a nice concept idea but, sadly, for me, it is not working too well in practice as the interior of the space (itself inside the already warm EICC building) was very warm for this show, and authentic as they may have been, the wooden benches for seating (with no back support) are simply not conducive to comfort whilst watching the show (a very limited amount of chairs/cushions are available if you ask). Probably the most difficult part of the experience for me though was the noise levels at times from other activities on in the conference centre. I might have been just unlucky today with the amount of noise from people going into another event on a close by stairway. The long and narrow shape of our “canteen” also made sight lines of our two performers at the centre of the space difficult in some areas, and watching David Benson and Jack Lane take on the mannerisms of these much loved characters is so much a part of this show.
A great show with a wonderful script and gifted performers. Unfortunately other elements outside the show format itself detracted heavily from my experience this afternoon.
Dad's Army Afternoon Tea Hour
Pleasance at EICC - Platform 5
Aug 1-7, 9-14, 16-18
1 hour 15 minutes
Country: United Kingdom - England
Group: David Benson and Jack Lane produced by James Seabright
Review by Tom King