Whether you do choose to look for the deeper meaning or just enjoy the many comical moments, you’ll find a wonderfully flamboyant show, directed by Kirk Jameson. On the whole it’s outrageously, and wickedly funny; a double entendre is shoehorned in at every opportunity, and if innuendo isn’t subtle enough, then the direct route is unabashedly taken, “don’t judge a sausage by its foreskin”.
Written in the seventies, the provocative language is shocking in today’s context, but in reality, is probably mild in comparison to the actual language used by soldiers overseas in the 1940’s. It’s clear this play with music doesn’t seek to hide any truths, merely dress them up a little.
Often seen as a star vehicle, this production seems to cast off that aspersion with a strong ensemble. As Terri Dennis, Simon Green is wonderful, blisteringly hilarious, and with perfect comic timing; his parody performances of Marlena Dietrich and Vera Lynn are divine, as is his take on Noel Coward.
But there are also some startlingly good performances elsewhere in the production, Tom Bowen is striking as Cartwright, despite being one of the less fully formed characters, when it comes to the song and dance numbers, Bowen is top of the bill. Matt Hayden as Young-Love is a joy to watch, with perfect received pronunciation. Martha Pother, the only female in the cast, does a good job of giving her character distinction.
Samuel Curry, as Flowers, is stronger in the more dramatic moments, happily leaving the comedic elements to the rest of the cast. Paul Sloss is wonderfully gormless as Bonney, and his character’s relationship with Bishop is another reminder of the deeper message to be taken from this play.
This is a scandalously funny play, that cannot fail to have you roaring with laughter, sometimes shocking, there are moments of pure gold. So, forget the pantomime this year ducky and see Privates on Parade instead.