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Posts Tagged ‘Spike Milligan’

This is a stage adaptation of Spike Milligan’s comic novel set in Ulster in 1922. The Boundary Commission has created a new border with Eire that dissects the village of Puckoon between the church and its graveyard and through the pub. It’s typical Milligan – eccentric, quirky, silly, irreverent, surreal and absurd.

The adaptation is faithful to the book and the Stones In Her Pockets / 39 Steps style of the production seems wholly in keeping with the material. The writer is an onstage character, engaging in dialogue with his characters (‘why did you write me such bad legs?’), and the main character is called Milligan. The other 27 characters are played by four actors. They all double-up as musicians for the few added songs. The production values are deliberately amateur in keeping with both the book and the staging.

We smiled a lot, but there weren’t many laughs and I have to say it didn’t really work for me – and I love both Milligan and the book. In fairness, the theatre is far too big, the audience at the performance we attended far too sparse and the cast seemed to be trying too hard to compensate. It’s a shame, because there’s a lot of talent on show and it’s Ulster’s Big Telly Theatre Company’s first London showcase.

A worthy failure, I’m afraid.

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