So you recently went to see a musical version of Dad’s Army put on by an amateur company you are friendly with.
Dad’s Army, for the Britanically challenged amongst us, was originally a long running TV series about a particularly incompetent chapter of the Home Guard, men who weren’t actually in the armed forces during World War Two on the grounds of being old, infirm or bank managers but who were armed to the teeth with pitchforks and expected to help defend the white cliffs in the event of an invasion. It was a comedy. Much bantering in the village hall in drafty uniforms with pauses for tea.
So is the musical stage version. Apparently it’s a splicing together of a few of the TV episodes. With added wartime songs and a singalong at the end.
It was fun. Much of the amusement value was watching the actors doing impressions of their more famous counterparts. Very successfully too. It was well cast. Plus you enjoyed the songs. You are just* old enough to have been around when they were still well-known songs. and young enough** that they have sunk without trace for many many years now.
And of course, you got to boo some Germans, which made it practically panto already and a good way of getting into the Christmas spirit.
Anyway. The men (and, in the musical, the women) of Dad’s Army bumble along, but they are decent people, trying to do the decent thing in difficult times. It was sweet and nostalgic and everybody belted out Rule Britannia at the end with a real feeling of warm and fuzzy pride. Except B. Who waved his red paper napkin and sang Sovietksi Soyuz.
But how difficult? You see because B was there, you suddenly found yourself wondering how gently entertaining a Russian, sorry, Soviet, version would be. Cheerful ditties about eating Granny to stave off starvation in the blockade of Leningrad? Plucky witicisims about Mrs Ivanov having her house set fire to by the invading army, with her and her baby inside of it? Tap dance routines from the cheeky young pioneer leaping across the bodies of his family and friends during the carnage in Stalingrad?
Of course, Dad’s Army doesn’t represent the full gamut of British experiences of World War Two. There are plenty of harrowing tales there and some of them even happened to civilians.
But the comfortableness of the evening worried you a bit.
Although it wasn’t half as bad as the last time you went to that particular venue to see that particular company perform.
That time the entertainment was Jack the Ripper, the Musical.