INSTRUCTIONS FOR AMERICAN SERVICEMEN IN BRITAIN
Devised by The Real McGuffins and John Walton.
Jermyn Street Theatre. 16b Jermyn Street, London SW1Y 6ST to 29 July 2017.
Mon – Sat 7.30pm. Mat Sat 3.30pm.
Runs 1 hr 50 mins One interval.
TICKETS: 020 7287 2875.
Review: William Russell 5 July.
Delightfully Daft and Dazzlingly Done
Part of what used to separate us from the Americans was, of course, language although that is surely far less true today than it was when last they invaded us in vast numbers. During the Second World War a pamphlet explaining all things British was issued to the American servicemen and it is the basis of this silly, but frequently very funny, revue which panders to stereotypes with glee, loads of puns, and a certain amount of drag. The three actors play all the parts with resource, vigour and great charm and inolve the audience to immense comic effect. They truly are a crazy gang.
While playing it for laughs is fine, in reality they were, albeit on our side, considered as and behaved like invaders, and the natives did not like having these over sexed, overpaid GIs over here. While having it off with the blacksmith’s daughter and laying waste the village and its pub are laughed off by all concerned watching the show, at the time it was a little less amusing. But that is to be too serious about what is ultimately a most professionally performed and harmless joke albeit with highs a lows – there is a diversion with puppets to show what the German’s thought opening the second half which is quite beside the point.
One high is when the wife of the pansy British major – which is how the Yanks saw us – makes up to the big butch GI general – also a cliché, of course, as all Yanks were big, butch and had nylons in their pockets to hand out. James Millard who plays the know it all GI sergeant, a Bilco type, does a mean Dame Celia Molestrangler as she succumbs to the appeal of things transatlantic. Later he does a rather nice shameless, speak her mind mother to the major. As the general and a British toff, silly of course, Dan March is very funny and Matt Sheahan’s major is a classic silly ass. There are jokes about our currency, about cricket, Winston Churchill threatens to arrive and a particularly joyous sequence involving the audience as hankie waving Morris dancers dancing to Glen Miller. All in all, a night to enjoy for almost all the family. But look out for that audience participation.
Director: James Walton.
Set & Costume Designer: Martin Thomas.
Sound: Jon Mcleod.
Movement: Sam Fogell