Goon, but they’re not forgotten
The Goon Show influenced several entire generations. Prince Charles, The Beatles, John Cleese and Graham Chapman from Monty Python, Douglas Adams of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy fame, and later comics such as Eddy Izzard, all came under its spell.
Broadcast on BBC radio during the 1950s, the groundbreaking anarchic, surreal comedy with its quirky and ludicrous characters, nonsensical plots and innovative use of sound effects was largely scripted by Spike Milligan, and voiced by him and his confederates Peter Sellers and Harry Secombe.
Well, the Goons are back, live in Palmerston North courtesy of a Boys’ High fundraiser. A live radio show performance will reincarnate the classic characters and recreate the live musical interludes, replacing original musicians Max Geld ray and Ray Ellington with school singing ensemble the OK Chorale and the awardwinning PNBHS Stage Band.
Show coordinator and producer Ken Benn said the performances of four Goon Show episodes will take place in the Speirs Centre over three nights from June 29 - July 1.
‘‘It’s been a fun project. Every night will be a different combination of episodes with Chris Higgie as Spike Milligan, Philip Mills as Harry Secombe and me as Peter Sellers,’’ Benn said.
Using scripts, the trio will act as though recording those 1950s radio shows.
‘‘It’s a world first in Palmerston North - a live Goon Show performance with a live orchestra.’’
The Goon Shows open on Thursday 29 with episodes The Tallest Mountain in The World and The Dreaded Batter Pudding Hurler. The following night sees The Tallest Mountain in The World coupled with The Lost Treasure of Loch Lomond, and the Saturday night finale has The Tallest Mountain in The World paired with The Spanish Suitcase.
‘‘This represents two years of negotiations with the ‘Beeb’, who are not charging us any royalties, because it is a fundraiser.’’
Proceeds from the threenight season will go towards school projects, travel bursaries and September’s Italian educational tour.
$20 tickets are available through the PNBHS Finance Office or Event finda.
Ken Benn plays Peter Sellers roles, Philip Mills does Harry Secombe’s, and Chris Higgie performs as Spike Milligan.