Monday, 17 January 2022

New play celebrates Spike Milligan’s comic genius

New play celebrates Spike Milligan’s comic genius

A NEW comedy based on the life of Spike Milligan will open the spring season at the Watermill Theatre in Bagnor, near Newbury.

Spike by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman is booking from January 27 to March 5.

It’s the booming Fifties and Britain is in the clutches of
Goon-mania as men, women and children across the country scramble to get their ear to a wireless for the latest instalment of The Goon Show.

While Harry Secombe and Peter Sellers get down to the serious business of becoming overnight celebrities, fellow Goon and chief writer Spike finds himself pushing the boundaries of comedy — and testing the patience of the BBC higher-ups.

Flanked by his fellow Goons and bolstered by the efforts of the show’s irrepressible sound assistant, Janet, Spike takes a flourishing nosedive off the cliffs of respectability and mashes up his haunted past to create the comedy of the future.

Will his dogged obsession with finding the funny elevate the Goons to soaring new heights or will the whole thing come crashing down with the stroke of a potato peeler?

Olivier Award-winning actor John Dagleish will play the title role, with Stephen Fry voicing the BBC announcer and Margaret Cabourn-Smith playing Janet.

George Kemp plays Peter Sellers with Jeremy Lloyds as Harry Secombe, James Mack as Dennis Main Wilson/Peter Eton, Ellie Morris as June and Robert Mountford as a BBC executive.

Hislop and Newman say: “Writing Spike gave us a chance to celebrate the genius of the founding father of modern comedy, explore what inspired him and steal all his jokes.”

The Watermill’s artistic director Paul Hart says: “The play will commemorate 20 years since Spike’s death and will be equally good fun for those who know the Goons and for audiences who are new to Spike’s distinctive brand of humour — and how we all need a laugh at the moment.”

For more information and to book, visit www.watermill.org.uk

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