Goon show recreated
The Goon Show is being reincarnated in Palmerston North.
The zany BBC radio series, the comic genius of Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers, will be performed over three nights in the city at the end of next month. Although the series ended 50 years ago,
The Goon Show is remembered as the benchmark for all radio comedy programmes. It took absurdity to new heights and was much loved by audiences throughout the Commonwealth as they grappled with the reality of life in the decades following World War II.
Actor, writer, raconteur and teacher Ken Benn spent two years negotiating with the BBC before receiving permission to recreate four of the most hilarious programmes.
‘The series is closely protected, even after 50 years, because the BBC wants The
Goon Show to remain authentic in people’s minds,’’ Ken says.
‘‘The condition they imposed is that the episodes had to be performed by non-paid actors for a charitable purpose.’’
Ken has chosen The Dreaded Batter Pudding Hurler, The Lost Treasure of Loch Loman, The Spanish Suitcase and The Tallest Mountain in the World. In these
episodes three actors will reincarnate immortal characters such as Neddie Seagoon, Henry Crun and Minnie Bannister, Eccles, Bluebottle, Major Denis Bloodknock, Count Moriarty and Grytte Pipe Thyne.
The Tallest Mountain in the World has special relevance for New Zealand as it farcically pokes fun at a colonial Ed Hillary who out-climbed the Brits to reach the top of Everest.
The characters were presented live in front of microphones by Harry Secombe, Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers, assisted by a cacophony of sounds, explosions, gunshots, splashes, two hippos slapping against each other and a sockful of custard smashed over a copper’s helmet.
For the Palmerston North performance, they’ll be played by Philip Mills, Chris Higgie and Ken Benn with recorded sound effects and live jazz from the PNBHS Stage Band and OK Chorale.
Ken grew up with the Goons as did thousands of people throughout the world.
‘‘It’s remained fresh and relevant because of the wordplay which conjures up mental images of the absurdly sublime,’’ he says.
‘‘At the time they helped to heal the terrible tragedies of the previous decades.’’
Ken and his team will look, act and dress as close to character as possible. Harry Secombe wore a cardy, Milligan dressed in t-shirt and jeans while Sellers wore a wide lapelled 1950s jacket.
Proceeds from the The Goon Show will go towards sending the PNBHS Stage Band to Australia in 2018, assist the OK Chorale at the nationals later this year and raise funds for a student educational tour to Italy to study the renaissance period.
The Goon Show is being presented from June 29 to July 1 at the Speirs Centre. Tickets ($20) available from the school office (06-354-5176) or Eventfinda for online bookings.
Philip Mills, Chris Higgie andKen Benn are recreating The Goons.