Spike - Watermill Theatre, Newbury REVIEW
The latest production to grace the Watermill stage tells the story of Spike Miligan’s battles both in war and with the BBC as he fights the conservative constraints of the British Broadcasting Corporation as well as PTSD.
Written by Private Eye Ian Hislop and Nick Newman, the story is a refreshing look at an unjust time for the industry and a tricky time for Spike himself told in the iconic Private Eye style.
We watch the endless work that Spike put in and the little thanks he received, with his colleagues Peter Sellers and Harry Selcombe earning twice as much despite Spike creating all the content.
John Dagleish gives an excellent performance as the slightly frantic comedian who struggles to take the serious thing seriously, much to the frustration of his wife, played by Ellie Morris.
He is well supported by George Kemp as Peter Sellers and Jeremy Lloyd as Harry Secombe, who complete the threesome bringing a wonderful energy to the stage when they get stuck into their radio show.
Fast paced and engaging, with short snappy scenes and dialogue from settings including the BBC offices, recording studios, hospital beds and Spike’s writing room. There are also plenty of Goon references to give you that comforting hit of nostalgia.
Scene changes could be slicker and it needs fine tuning overall as a piece but this enjoyable comedy is a brilliant farce and honourable tribute to those who shaped the course of comedy forever.