Ray Galton & Alan Simpson’s scripts have been adapted
for the stage to create a loving play about a father and his son who both
fought in different world wars. The pair wrote 8 tv series over 12 years and 5
radio series which are firmly etched in British entertainment history. What
makes this production work, though, is that they have not tried to recreate the
television programmes. Albert (Mike
Shepherd) is still a dirty old man who will feign death when Harold (Dean Nolan) has another plan to fly the
family nest. There is no attempt to play the role as Wilfrid Brambell would
We find the useful addition of a female role played by Kirsty Woodward, who alternates between
being the unseen guardian angel trying to point out what could have been and
the female companions in a couple of the stories. Along with a choice of music
from Cliff Richard’s “The Young Ones”,
Roy Orbison’s “It’s Over” to Elvis
Presley’s “Suspicious Minds” we are
given a vehicle to segue one story into another.
The set was designed by the Northern Stage legend Neil
Murray and involved a movable cart which could also double as a house and a
rocking horse that needed feeding. The clever design help the actors deliver
the physical interactive theatre that Kneehigh are famous for.
The show therefore gives us 4 stories which explore the
relationships between a father and his son.It is an opportunity to explore the chemistry that builds up in close
family relationships. At time the humour
is dark but it is always suggested that this is due to the strong bond between
the title characters. The play has got its funny moments and some show pieces –
from juggling to doing the splits. The occasional interaction when the audience
reacted to an event was a nice touch.
The play made for a pleasant evenings entertainment and it
brings a fresh interpretation of a familiar situation.
The play continues at the Northern Stage until the 16th
March and then continues its tour:
Tue 19 March 2013 - Sat 06 April 2013 Lyric, Hammersmith
Tue 09 April 2013 - Sat 13 April 2013 Sherman Cymru