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2006 - Summer
GUNG HO! WIZARD PRANK!
Gung Ho! Wizard Prank!
Blakeney Players Blakeney Village Hall
The Blakeney Players always set out to entertain their loyal audiences and this production is no exception as they have chosen Iain Marshall’s “ripping yarn” – Gung Ho! Wizard Prank! as their summer offering.
The story set in two public schools in 1939 is well known but, under the direction of Ralph Wiggins, the players succeed in holding the audience’s attention as the rather silly and implausible plot unfolds.
The action opens in the present day at The St Egbert’s School reunion where a rather worse for wear Charles Mason (John Ratcliffe) and his wife Amanda (Janet Harcourt) reminisce about pre war days at St Egbert’s School and St Hilary’s School where never the twain should meet but certainly did whether on the rugger field or the Staveley House dormitory.
The pupils of both schools have some rather splendid names – Archibald Braithwaite, Willoughby Blott, Lavinia Higginbottom and Dorothy Dalrymple-Smythe – amongst them but it is the charismatic Charles Mason (Peter Franklin), the star rugby player, who has the girls from St.Hilda’s swooning all over him.
For headmaster Mr Bloomfield (Iain Mawson) the success of the school is dependent upon the results on the rugger field and it is when surreptitiously watching the chaps practising that the gels see a parcel being deposited by Helmut Kruger, a German spy (Ralph Wiggins) who bears a striking resemblance to Herr Flick of the Gestapo.
His sidekick Hans Schmitt is also the French teacher, Monsieur Pompadour at St Egberts and, in a nice piece of gender changing the French mistress Mlle Petitfour at St Hildas. The talented Dave Long manages to carry off all three parts with his characteristic aplomb.
There will be a final set of Wizard Pranks tonight at 8pm so I will not spoil the potential enjoyment of the audience by giving away the dénouement save to say that there are some nice musical numbers, choreographed as usual by Marjorie Davies and the production ends with a rousing rendition of “Be True to Your School” which involves the whole cast – German spies included.