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OTT parade of Army life is a bit rude

PUBLISHED: 12:43 25 May 2001 | UPDATED: 15:05 22 October 2010

Privates on Parade @ Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich

Privates on Parade @ Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich

By MICHAEL DRAKE

You know what sort of a show this is with everyone having a feminine ending to their name in Acting Captain Terri Dennis' book – a real “darling” of the very camp Singapore army entertainment unit – in a splendidly OTT realisation by David Lambert.

Peter Nichols' play with music by Denis King (though this is in no way a “musical” and in which songs are more like entr'acts) great parody of some parts of Army life — advanced “It Aint 'Arf 'Ot” if you like — the whole of the company's life revolving around their concert party.

It is commanded by born-again Major Flack with a masterly performance and really the centre of the show from Noel Jones – his funeral eulogy alone is worth the ticket money. I'm sure I knew such a character, though then he was actually a Flight Lieutenant.

Cathi Hill is the only girl in the cast, a good Welsh chapel goer from Bombay but I'm not sure there were ever Sergeant-Majors quite like Reg Drummond (Mervyn Harrowvin) and the promoted Private Flowers (Andrew Ramsbottom).

There are a few flat spots in John Mangan's production but these will no doubt be ironed out during the course of the run.

It's a bit rude and there is no little cynicism in this Maddermarket Production tragi-comedy which continues until Saturday June 2 – and if you need a laugh see it.


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