Privates on Parade

by Peter Nichols

Privates on Parade had 4 performances over 15 years ago (between the 26th of March 2003 and the 29th of March 2003) at The Magna Carta Theatre

This semi-autobiographical account of the British Army in Singapore in 1948 is the starting point of one of Peter Nichols' funniest plays.

Designed in the form of a variety show, the play concerns the comic adventures of a concert party from the Song and Dance Unit South East Asia as they tour the Malayan jungle, menaced by communist guerillas.

Among the varied company are an aggressive, dishonest Sergeant Major, a raw new comer, an earnestly religious Major and a colourful gay, female impersonator.

Finally, bruised, battered but still ebullient, the survivors of SADUSEA board ship and head for England and home.

Originally produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company in the late 1970's a revised version opened at the Donmar Warehouse in December 2001 to rave reviews. The original cast included Nigel Hawthorne as Major Flack and Dennis Quilley as Terri Dennis.

Peter Nichols' plays include "Forget Me Not Lane", "A Day in the Death of Joe Egg" and "Passion Play".

In the post-war period his National Service took him to Singapore and Malaya. As a troupe member of the Combined Services Entertainment he was in the company of John Schlesinger, Stanley Baxter and Kenneth Williams. He writes "We've all done better work since then but for some reason I've found myself returning to CSE as the subject of a stage play. My first shot was made when Danny La Rue was unknown and glamorous drag confined to gay clubs. The urge to write survived the advent of "It Ain't Half Hot Mum" on the TV".

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Acting Captain Terri Dennis - Paul Marshall

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Private Steven Flowers - Nick Lund

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Corporal Len Bonny - Paul Surrey

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Flight Sergeant Kevin Cartwright - Colin Wolrich

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Corporal Charles Bishop - Tony Frier

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Leading Aircraftman Eric Young-Love - Ian Thomas

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Sylvia Morgan - Nancy Lund

Original

Sergeant Major Reg Drummond - Iain Donaldson

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Major Giles Flack - Keith Bollands

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Lee - Marc Anderson

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Cheng - Tony Dipreta

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Director - Judith Dolley

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Choreography - Carolyn Floyd