The spirit of wartime

West Haddon Players prepare to put on an evening of 40s style entertainment.''Pictured: Richard Lilleyman, Bernadette Frost, Keith Ellis & John Drake.
West Haddon Players prepare to put on an evening of 40s style entertainment.''Pictured: Richard Lilleyman, Bernadette Frost, Keith Ellis & John Drake.

A drama group will be 
encouraging people to step back in time and discover some wartime spirit with its latest production.

The West Haddon Players will be presenting A Wartime Night Out designed to give audiences a triple round of entertainment plus either dinner or an afternoon tea with a 1940s flavour.

The centre piece of the action will see the audience transported to the fictional seasonal resort of Walmington On Sea where the players will perform an episode of the classic BBC sitcom Dad’s Army. Entitled The Godiva Affair and originally broadcast in December 1974, the episode sees the town short of £2,000 needed to purchase a Spitfire.

The platoon decides to drum up support for the fundraiser by performing a morris dance at the fundraising carnival.

However, another fundraising initiative ends up grabbing a lot more of the attention.

Co-director Richard Lilleyman said: “We did a Dad’s Army a couple of years ago and it was a big success.

“We always try to do some sort of revue show in February and we thought it would be good to show people what it would be like to live during that period.”

This won’t be the only entertainment as there will be two other performances.

The group will also re-create the popular BBC radio series Workers’ Playtime, a variety show which ran from 1941 to 1964 and featured the likes of Max Miller, Rob Whilton and Jack Warner.

Also to be performed is a selection of rousing songs from the war to which the audience will be encouraged to sing along.

Richard added: “We have been rehearsing some of the stuff since before Christmas and there are obviously three different sets of rehearsals going on.

“It has been good doing the show because we have a lot of new members and people who have not been on stage before who will get the opportunity to perform.

“A lot of the actors who appeared in the Dad’s Army show two years ago will be reprising their roles and so for them it will be a case of slipping into the same costumes and accents that they had before.”

They are also looking to raise money for good causes with the show.

Richard said: “We have got people from All Saints Church in the village coming to help us out with serving the refreshments.

“We will donate some of the profits from the show to the church because it needs the money to maintain the fabric of the building.

“I would say to people do come along and enjoy it and experience the wartime, the feeling of being in a community and being together and have a really good time as well.”

A Wartime Night Out will be staged by the group celebrating West Haddon Village Hall on Friday February 15 and Saturday February 16 from 7.30pm.

Tickets for these two shows cost £15 and include generous rations of a three-course dinner.

A matinee performance on the show’s final day starts at 2.30pm and tickets are priced at £10 or £8 for concessions.

For further information or to book tickets for the show, call Jane Porter at the box office on 01788 510503.