Here to­day, Goon to­mor­row

The Tribune (NZ) - - ENJOY -

The BBC mi­cro­phones are in place, the cardy’s in the dress­ing room and the de­mented voices have had their fi­nal re­hearsal. Ev­ery­thing is ready for the open­ing of The Goon Show to­mor­row night.

The red light flashes and the stu­dio goes live at 8pm when the com­edy se­ries, which took ab­sur­dity to new heights, will be rein­car­nated at The Speirs Cen­tre for three nights.

Four fa­mous episodes of The Goon Show, re­mem­bered as the bench­mark for all ra­dio com­edy pro­grammes, will be per­formed live on stage by ex­pe­ri­enced ac­tors who’ll recre­ate the three im­mor­tal char­ac­ters and their ca­coph­ony of char­ac­ters.

In their hey­day as the Goons, Spike Mil­li­gan, Peter Sell­ers and Harry Se­combe cre­ated such in­cred­i­ble char­ac­ters as Ned­die Sea­goon, Henry Crun, and Min­nie Ban­nis­ter, Ec­cles, Blue­bot­tle, Ma­jor Denis Blood­knock, Count Moriarty and Grytte Pipe Thyne.

Th­ese char­ac­ters will be faith­fully im­per­son­ated by Manawatu ac­tors Philip Mills, Chris Heg­gie and Ken Benn, the lat­ter spend­ing two years ne­go­ti­at­ing with the BBC be­fore re­ceiv­ing per­mis­sion to per­form four of the most hi­lar­i­ous pro­grammes.

Ken has cho­sen The Dreaded Bat­ter Pud­ding Hurler, The Lost Trea­sure of Loch Lo­man, The

Span­ish Suit­case and The Tallest Moun­tain in the World be­cause it iden­ti­fies with New Zealand. The episode far­ci­cally pokes fun at a colo­nial Ed Hil­lary who out-climbed the Brits to reach the top of Ever­est.

Recorded sound ef­fects from slap­ping hip­pos to a sock­ful of smashed cus­tard will enhance the show and live jazz from OK Cho­rale and the PNBHS Stage Band will punc­tu­ate the per­for­mance.

‘‘The BBC only ap­proved non-paid ac­tors play­ing the roles for a char­i­ta­ble purpose,’’ Ken Benn says. ‘‘The pro­ceeds will go to­wards send­ing the PNBHS Stage Band, re­cent win­ners of the re­gional stage band con­test, to Aus­tralia in 2018, will as­sist the OK Cho­rale at the na­tion­als and for a stu­dent ed­u­ca­tional tour to study the Ital­ian re­nais­sance pe­riod.

Ken, an ac­tor, writer, racon­teur and teacher, has had an im­pres­sive back­ground in the­atre. He’s played a di­verse range of roles from the Cow­ardly Lion in The Wiz­ard of Oz in Feild­ing, Mark An­thony in Julius Cae­sar in Capetown, Fa­gin in Oliver in Birm­ing­ham but, in The Goon

Show, he’ll best be re­mem­bered as Blue­bot­tle for de­liv­er­ing the mem­o­rable line ‘‘he’s fallen in the wa­ter’’.

Ken is sure the au­di­ence will love be­ing re­united with The Goons.

‘‘The show re­mains fresh and rel­e­vant be­cause of the word­play which con­jures up men­tal images of the ab­surdly sub­lime,’’ he says. ‘‘And they’ll have a chance to sin­ga­long in two fa­mous songs, I’m Walk­ing Back­wards For Christ­mas and the Ying Tong Song.’’

The Goon Show is be­ing pre­sented from June 29 to July 1 at the Speirs Cen­tre. Tick­ets ($20) are avail­able from the school of­fice (06-354-5176) or Eventfinda for on­line book­ings.

Our Goons, from left, KenBenn, Philip Mills and Chris Heg­gie.

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