Goon show recre­ated

The Tribune (NZ) - - ENJOY -

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.

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