1st January 2016: "Spike Milligan's Puckoon--Live on Stage" !
There has obviously been lots of showbiz news of one sort or another, but not all of it to do with Goons per se, but the individuals who populated the show. Unfortunately due to our esteemed Les not being well for a while now, this page has been left slightly undone. Please accept our apologies. He is one the mend and assures us that things will improve.
30th Dec 2013: A new book "Spike Milligan--Man of Letters
For a mere quids twenty five you too can be the proud owner of Spikle Mellingtone's latest epic (Yes folks he's still turning them out)! Spike Milligan Man of Letters was released on 3rd October, apparently unnoticed! (at least by me!) Available from those naughty Amazonians for a round figure of £16.25 you'll just be in time to order it for Christmas and Xmas too! Have a review!
(Don't forget, you can click the Amazon link on our Shop Page and order it that way)
27th Sept 2013: An evening of Surreal Comedy at the BFI in London
Read the press release here
26th Sept 2013: The Major Denis Bloodnok Memorial Lecture on Spike Milligan
Will take place on Thursday 26th Sept at The Royal Albion Hotel, Brighton, 7:30pm as part of an evening with the Max Miller Appreciation Society. Their former Chairman and BBC Radio Producer John Henty will be giving the talk. He will also reveal a long lost gem, Spike performing a rare stand-up on Brighton's Palace Pier back in 1984 and will also talk about The Ying Tong Song with a rare recording on 78rpm… Tickets are £3.00
19th Sept 2013: A 'live' Goon Show Performance at long last
A group of Australian actors led by Bryan Cutts have been given permission to perform live, on stage, a set of original Goon Shows. Find out more at www.thegoonshowlive.com.au
19th August 2013: Radio Show host promotes The Ying Tong Song
Yes it's true folks - ex-BBC man Ian Edwards from GTFM Radio based in Cardiff wants to get the Ying Tong Song into the Christmas Charts and needs our support. Contact him at www.gtfm.co.uk
7th July 2013 : The Heritage Society (formerly Comic Heritage) unveiled a Blue Plaque to the late, great, Eric Sykes on Sunday 7th July at Orme Court, Bayswater, London at 12 noon.
28th June 2013: BBC Day for Charles Chilton
Murray Melvin, Roy Hudd, Ann Perrin, Gillian Reynolds, just a few of the exalted guests who attended the Celebration of the Life of Charles Chilton. Murray is archivist of the Theatre Royal, Stratford East, London and he gave a talk on Charles' "Oh What A Lovely War" (which is where it was first performed) and announced that it will be re-enacted next year to mark the 100th Anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War 1914-1918. Will let you know more nearer the time.
"The Ratties" are up and running and still as crazy as ever (probably worse), on the following the link, which is a follows: http://www.youtube.com/TheRattiesTV/
And now a story from a couple of years ago which I quite like so I have left it in...
A full report will appear here as soon as I have written it.
Les Drew writes;
"I have to say that Puckoon is my all-time favourite Spike' book. I've read it many, many times, I've listened to the audio book version, complete with a cast of actors, including TP McKenna reading the other parts, along with Spike himself, and some marvellous sound-effects which add to the telling. I've even re-enacted bits of it to friends and colleagues! I also have the cinema version starring Sean Hughes, which was good fun, so it is with great delight that I have been invited to attend the Press Night on their second day, Weds 9th March.
Having met Spike on several occasions it was great fun to watch last year's "Adolf Hitler-My Part in His Downfall" and meet the cast afterwards to chat about the great man and I would hope to be able to do the same here.
I shall no doubt be enthralled with this latest production and would like to say a big thank you in advance to Jenny Eldridge at Target Live for the opportunity.
And here it is;
It was once said that the way Spike had written Puckoon it would be impossible to transfer it to the stage or screen. Well, as mentioned above they tried a film version with Richard Attenborough as the narrator and Sean Hughes as Dan Milligan (they renamed him Madigan!) but watching it back the other night it seemed very 'dry'. I expect the cast had a great time but the finished film just misses out.
Not so this Puckoon as created by Big Telly Theatre Company. It was glorious and as Silé (Spike's daughter who was sitting just a few seats away from me said), "Dad would have loved it!".
The cast of five were most ably attended by Paul Boyd, sitting at his keyboard and playing little musical interludes to one side of the stage and himself very much a part of the proceedings as the Narrator. At one point he needs someone to play the part of Julius Caesar and as all the other actors are busy he has to do it himself in his best Italian voice, " My black-a panther has-a escaped, bring-a da help". Very funny.
Talking of the cast of five, they not only play themselves in the main roles but they also play dozens of other 'parts' along the way, seamlessly switching between characters at the drop of a hat. In one very funny exchange Bryan Quinn (using just a red neckerchief) changes from a man (kerchief round his neck) to a woman (kerchief on his head as a scarf) in the blink of an eye and a turn of his heel. He even ends up talking to himself in both voices. Tremendous.
John O'Mahoney is wonderful as Fr. Rudden (he was in the Christmas episode of Father Ted on C4 so that was perfect casting) along with his other characters Blind George Devine, Mrs. Doonan and so on.
Russell Morton switches between Ah Pong the Chinese policeman and Lenny (with the arse out of his trousers) in an instant just by walking through an on-stage 'door'. He also plays O'Brien and Foggerty the village idiot brilliantly. Talking of Ah Pong, there is a very funny (hilarious) scene where Lenny lays in the coffin to try it out for size and when it is finally re-opened (having been in full view of the audience all along) it is Ah Pong who pops up, complete with silly Chinese grin. The song that he then gives us (accompanied by Paul Boyd and the rest of the cast who can all play several musical instruments very efficiently) is a wonder to behold, and as for his leaping along with his little Chinese legs popping out the top of the coffin it's all-in-all a masterpiece of comic acting.
(This door, the coffin, a table and a couple of chairs seem to twist and turn into so many other objects ad-infinitum; tombstones and so on, that the on-stage effect is spellbinding itself to watch).
Jack Walsh played the straggly-bearded Dan Milligan with great effect, even using his own legs as the props in the opening scenes "Ah!, I tink I'll bronze me limbs) which introduces the Narrator into the story when he (Milligan) accuses him of writing "crappy" legs… and the narrator promises to improve things and at least make sure that Dan comes out of it alive.
Glen Kinch (a self-confessed Goon Show fanatic) was excellent in all his roles, turning from the extremely 'jewish-looking' Dr. Goldstein into The Major, Captain Clarke and many others by simply putting on a different hat or jacket and spinning around into his new character.
Meeting the cast and crew afterwards was wonderful, along with Vincent Higgins (the writer) and Zoë Seaton (the producer), as they were as much enthralled in meeting us as I was in meeting them. Very surreal discussing the play and breaking into character myself when chatting to the actors who had only moments before been those characters on-stage. I made them laugh as much as they had made me. I couldn't help myself, and having met Spike many times I knew myself that he would have whole-heartedly