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Published on Friday, 12 April 2013

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The Warren (venue website)
12, 19 May, 5:00pm-6:15pm

 Warning: Contains strong language.
 Parental Guidance. Under-17's must be accompanied by an adult.

It’s a welcome return to Brighton for this thoughtful World War Two caper, which we first reviewed at the same venue back in 2012. Thanks to the TV series Dad’s Army, we’ve all heard about the 1940’s Home Guard … but Britain’s secret wartime “scallywags” are less well-known. A hush-hush network of part-time soldiers, they’d have been our nation’s last desperate line of defence in the face of a Nazi invasion, sworn to fight (and almost certainly die) in defence of a conquered land.

SOOP Theatre’s polished, physical production builds plenty of respectful humour around this surprisingly serious theme.  Amidst a series of arresting visual set-pieces, we meet an array of small-town caricatures: the boy scout, the gamekeeper, the aristocrat.  Their boggle-eyed antics are slick and entertaining, but the mood swings around in the final moments – when the war-movie tropes of comradeship and sacrifice come suddenly to the fore, in a sensitive, unexpected, and genuinely exciting conclusion.

Scallywags earned a clutch of congratulatory reviews for its appearances last year, both in Brighton and around the country.  So if you missed it then, don’t pass up the second chance to see this charming, memorable, and thoroughly British comedy.

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