Tag Archive | Northenden Players

REVIEW: Dad’s Army @ Northenden Methodist Church

When a legendary classic comedy like Dad’s Army is brought to the stage a by an amateur theatre fans of the show can’t help being a little apprehensive.

But DON’T PANIC – this production by the Northenden Players is a superb recreation of the 1970s sitcom featuring the hapless misadventures of the Walmington-on-Sea home guard platoon in their efforts to defend the nation from the heel of the Nazi jackboot.

This is a very ambitious show and you have to salute the bravery of anyone who would attempt a homage to a comedy institution still shown on TV today.

But thanks to a strong cast and effective use of sets which enables swift scene changes, the Players pull it off admirably.

Everyone contributes to the success of the show, but at the centre of it all is an uncannily accurate portrayal of the pompous but heroic Captain Mainwaring.

Bill Platt just is Mainwaring and it is no exaggeration to say his performance is probably the closest thing you’ll to the brilliant Arthur Lowe’s rendition on TV.

The production comprises three classic episodes – The Deadly Attachment, featuring one of the most repeated lines in comedy history; Mum’s Army; and The Godiva Affair – rounded off with an hilarious attempt by the platoon at rendition of The Floral Dance.

The cast work well together to serve up a comedy treat and will not disappoint fans of the programme. The interplay between Mainwaring and his posh effete Sergeant Wilson, played by Peter Bowers is wonderful.

And Cyril Walker and David Hunt delight in the roles of doddery veteran Lance Cpl Jones and dour Scotland Private Frazer.

It is a hoot from start to finish and a great night out.

Runs till Saturday Feb 17.

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REVIEW: Arsenic and Old Lace @ Northenden Methodist Church 

For those familiar with Arsenic and Old Lace, it is usually the classic film starring Cary Grant which springs to mind.

This makes bringing the story to the stage somewhat of a challenge for any theatre company. 

But it has to be said that the Northenden Players have pulled it off with aplomb, with a production which rivals some professional efforts I have seen. 

For the benefit of those not familiar with the story, originally penned by playwright Joseph Kesserling, it tells the tale of two sweet old ladies whose mission it is to help sad, lonely old souls escape the sorrows of the world by slipping arsenic in their elderberry wine and burying them in the cellar.

They are aided and abetted in their madness by their barmy bugle playing brother Teddy, who is convinced he is Theodore Roosevelt. Caught up in all this is Mortimer Brewster, who appears the only sane member of the family and attempts to protect his aunties with hilarious results. 

With twelve bodies buried in the cellars the plot thickens when Mortimer’s long lost criminally insane  brother Jonathan arrives with a thirteenth.

It all sounds completely bonkers. It is, and it’s brilliant. 

Rosemary Mark and Lesley Bowers are superb as the two nutty sisters with expert comic timing and Robin Bell also makes a wonderful Teddy.

John Wheatley also delivers the laughs and the menace as Jonathan and there is a lovely interplay between him and plastic surgeon sidekick Dr Einstein played beautifully by Tim Collier. 

At the centre of it all Ben Thomas is very good as Mortimer, delivering some of those classic lines, my favourite being “madness runs in our family, it practically gallops.”

This is a wonderful pre-Christmas treat and you just have to time to catch it . The last show is tonight Saturday December 16 at Northenden Methodist Church Hall on Victoria Road.

Dave Toomer 

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