Opening night of Guards! Guards! in Blackpool, starring Paul Darrow as Captain Vimes.
As attended by Sandy Douglas, Pat Fenech, Christine Lacey, Harriet Monkhouse and (a Pratchett but non-B7 fan) Susan Hall, hereinafter referred to as the Panel.
[Pause to sip some whisky in Captain Vimes's honour]
Mr Darrow's acting was commendably restrained [most of the time - Ed] and relaxed; he appeared to be enjoying the part. We spotted one "Well now", followed by one Burt Lancaster ("Question is..."), two Humphrey Bogarts ("Of all the cities..." and "Here's looking at you, kid") and an extended Clint Eastwood to a punk who didn't feel lucky, which Mr Darrow delivered while wearing a rather fetching nightdress, a boot, one of Lady Ramkin's slippers and a wrist-dragon. One panellist found his playing of the drunk scene slightly unconvincing (though I enjoyed his apostrophe to the aforesaid gutter - Ed).
And in the Dress Circle Bar afterwards, he coped gracefully with the panel's editor rushing upon him with a cry of "I'm pouncing for your autograph NOW 'cos I've got to run for the last train to Manchester."
Death's voice should have been deeper and reverberated more (though he improved after the interval).
Lance Constable Carrot was not serious enough, had an implausible accent and should NOT have had orange hair - even the programme carried a note explaining that his name referred to his body shape, not his colouring.
Lady Ramkin's posh accent could have been cranked up several notches (I've heard glass cut a lot more aristocratically).
Errol the Whittle and the big dragon met with general approval.
As did the Elucidated Brethren. (Though with the Supreme Grand Master, I kept expecting a Krantor/Servalan joke: "Grand Master - " "SUPREME Grand Master!")
Corporal Nobbs was successfully portrayed, and Dibbler quite well done.
The Librarian did an excellent job of climbing up the shelves (ah, what Robert Lindsay might have achieved in such a role!).
And I liked the Patrician, an eminently sensible tyrant. Especially his explanation that there aren't good people and bad people, just bad people, but some of them are on the other side.
It's funny and he's good.
Note: None of the other panellists should be held too strictly to any of the opinions expressed above, as all but one are still in Blackpool. Posted three hours and 5 minutes after the curtain call...
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Last updated on 28th of June 1998.