I Really Must Get Out More

The whole family is a little weary tonight. Work is probably the main reason, particularly for Pat who is up to her eyes, and number one daughter, Bryony, who has been on a work experience placement at Hope Hospital.

But the other reason is that we had a family outing to the theatre last night, and while it wasn’t exactly what you would call a late one, we really, really enjoyed ourselves.

The cause of our enjoyment? The stage version of Dad’s Army performed by Mossley Amateur Dramatics Society. Racy, or what?

I can’t believe that there is anyone in the English speaking world who hasn’t seen at least one episode of this timeless comedy, but an explanation anyway. Written by David Croft and Jimmy Perry, it recounts the adventures of the Home Guard unit at the fictional Walmington-on-Sea.

Comprised of civilian volunteers, the Home Guard brought together those too young, too old or unsuitable for conscription. It was a well-meant gesture, but their antics were faintly ridiculous and prime material for Perry and Croft.

My dad was in the Home Guard and bears this out. He and other callow youths were being taught the art of war by a veteran soldier in the playground of what was then Crescent Road School, Dukinfield:

“Right men, I shall now demonstrate how to scale over a wall,” says the veteran pointing at the six foot stand of red brick at the edge of the playground.

“But, Sir,” says dad, Pike-like.

“Don’t interrupt boy! Look and learn!” Captain Mainwaring to a tee.

The veteran runs and hurls himself at the wall, hauls himself up on top, throws one and then two legs over and lets go.

“Aaaaaah!” Thud.

Although six-foot on one side, there was a twenty-foot drop on the other. We’ll leave it there. All that was missing was Sergeant Wilson saying, “Do you think this is an awfully good idea sir?”

Back to last night, the show had two episodes adapted for stage — the Fatal Assignment and the Godiva Affair, plus a very funny full-cast end rendition of the Floral Dance.

The whole cast were excellent, but there has to be a special mention for Charles Foster who played Sergeant Wilson. He had John Le Mesurier’s voice and mannerisms to perfection.

What is uplifting is the amount of talent among “ordinary” people. There is a fine tradition of “working” people entertaining their fellows in this area, as I’m sure there is elsewhere, and that it continues to thrive is reassuring. The theatre was full, a good time was had and no-one on stage was doing it for fame and money. Their reward was the entertainment of others.

On which note, if you are in the Mossley near Christmas, book your seats for a traditional pantomime. Aladdin is on from 8 to 13 December. Advance bookings, call Susan Fletcher on 0161 633 3082. I suspect a belter.

Do you know the origin of the name Aladdin? It means God is Great. Or possibly unstoppable. I told you I should get out more.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

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