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Privates on Parade

March 6, 2013

What a wonderful romp! “Privates on Parade” is the first of five plays in the Michael Grandage season this year at the Noel Coward Theatre. Simon Russell Beal stars as the over the top very camp Captain who runs SADUSEA (Song and Dance UnitSouth East Asia) of the British Army in Malasia putting on shows for the troops as the Empire collapses around them. Simon’s performance is a tour de force with emphasis on the “camp”. His Marlene Dietrich, Vera Lynn and Carmen Miranda are just hilarious. All supported wonderfully by the beautiful boys in the unit; Sam Swainsbury, Joseph Timms, Harry Hepple, Brodie Ross and John Marquez, each with their own unique interesting character.

I have seen a previous excellent production at the Birmingham Rep with Lizzie Spooner where I felt the serious undercurrents within this play got more attention. This version is played for laughs although there is no getting away from the reality of military occupation.

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