The Goon Show comes to The Old Joint Stock tonight (Fri 3rd Oct) and tomorrow night (Sat 10th Oct), as part of the opening programme for the Birmingham Comedy Festival.
Doors open at 7:30pm with tickets priced at £10.
Performing ‘Phantom Head Shaver of Brighton’ and ‘The Canal’, The Old Joint Stock Theatre Company secured rights from the Milligan estate to recreate the two 30min episodes, first recorded for the BBC in 1954.
The Goons – Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe & Michael Bentine, were prominent post WWII comedians and writers, specialising in irreverent and ‘off the wall’ sketches.
The Goon Show (nee Crazy People) was first commissioned by the BBC for the BBC Home Service (nee Radio 4) in 1951, running regularly across the wider station until 1960.
With almost immediate success, The Goon Show’s listening figures rose significantly throughout its inaugural the series – compelling an initially (and in some pockets, continuously) reticent BCC to commission a second series.
Despite serious disruption by cast members, with Bentine leaving the show and Spike Milligan’s increasing battle with mental health issues, series two cemented The Goon Show’s success and led to a further eight commissions – with the BBC series finally ceasing production in 1960.
The Goon’s longstanding principle characters, including Major Dennis Bloodnok, Eccles, Bluebottle, Minnie Bannister & Henry Crun, alongside Secombe’s idiotic straight man, Neddie Seagoon, have long outlived their initial BBC broadcasts – with artistic contemporaries, across the years, citing them as an influence or inspiration.
Commenting on issues of race, class, colonialism and art fraud (The Fake Neddie Seagoon), Milligan’s scripts were steeped in edgy social commentary – delivered from the shadows of post WWII austerity measures, national social reform and the dissolution of the British Empire.
As far as cornerstones of modern British comedy go, The Goon Show is arguably one of the most revered. And funny.
The Goon Show comes to The Old Joint Stock on Temple Row West (by St Philip’s Cathedral – City Centre) on Fri 3rd Oct and Sat 10th Oct – performing episodes ‘Phantom Head Shaver of Brighton’ and ‘The Canal’, as part of the Birmingham Comedy Festival.
For further info & tickets, visit http://www.oldjointstock.co.uk/whats-on/the-goon-show
For more on the Birmingham Comedy Festival, visit http://www.bhamcomfest.co.uk/