Duns Players re-visit two old favourites

Duns Players stage their annual Rembembrance weekend play, this year raising money for the Royal British Leigon with a 1940s theme night and an episode of Dads Army
Duns Players stage their annual Rembembrance weekend play, this year raising money for the Royal British Leigon with a 1940s theme night and an episode of Dads Army

Get your soldiers uniforms on and be ready to kneel at the altar of Duns Players as they re-visit ‘Dads Army’ and ‘The Vicar of Dibley’ next week at the Volunteer Hall.

The Berwickhire group performed the former to mark Armistice Day in November while the latter formed one half of a double header with ‘Steptoe and Son’ last spring but what both had in common is that they earned rave reviews from their audiences.

So no pressure then for their casts and directors Peter Lerpiniere and Matthew Taylor fresh from appearing in Duns Opera’s ‘Me and My Girl’ last month and also both cast in the shows they’re at the helm of.

Peter is taking the reins as the Players make themselves at home again in Warmington-on-Sea for an episode of ‘Dad’s Army’ which sees Captain Mainwaring have his heart broken.

Jerry Ponder will once again play the man who’s in charge of a merry band of troops but there have been some changes to the cast list from November.

Never off the stage in the past few months, Euan McIver takes over from Bob Noble as Corporal Jones while Matthew comes into the fold as Pike.

Over in Dibley, the Players are going right back to the start with ‘The Arrival’, Kate Lester reprising her role as vicar Geraldine Granger and Peter taking over the role of her sparring partner David Horton.

With both shows proving popular last year, Peter said it made sense that the Players were giving their audience more of what they obviously enjoy so much, having also entertained with ‘Fawlty Towers’ in 2011 and 2012.

“These shows work so well because their scripts are so good,” he told ‘WOW’.

“As both TV programmes and stage shows they appeal to a wide range of people so it’s no surprise that they were commercially successful for us last year.

“They are two of the most iconic sitcoms in British TV history but we’re not intimidated by that.

“It is really hard not to just play carbon copies of the people you’ve seen on the telly but while we offer an homage to the well known characters we don’t do replicas.

“There’s something about live theatre which adds a different dimension to their personalities and lets them breathe.”

Peter also let slip that the Players have been casting their net across the pond, looking into the availability of scripts for the likes of ‘Golden Girls’, ‘Cheers’ and ‘Frasier’ but for now the focus is very much on getting the Warmington Home Guard and the Dibley parishioners ready for their shows on Thursday, May 8, and Friday, May 9.

And with many of the cast committed to other productions, the shows have had to take shape at break neck speed.

“Most of the cast were involved in ‘Me and My Girl’ so we waited until it had completed its run before we even started on rehearsals.

“That means that by the time we have done our shows there will have only been five weeks between the two.

“We’d normally have around eight weeks at least but everyone’s knuckled down and worked really hard.

“The two episodes we’ve chosen as well as both having their fair share of belly laughs also sit well next to each other.

“For me personally it’s great to playing opposite Kate again, she’s such a great actress and we worked really well when she was the Sybil to my Basil in ‘Fawlty Towers’.