Bullshot Crummond (2008)
Directed by James Hough (JH)
- 1 Pre Show blurb for the Theatre's news letter
- 2 Cast
- 3 Crew
- 4 Special Credits to Backstage Crew
- 5 Prop Construction and Other Things
- 6 Music
- 7 German Translations
- 8 Historical Mistake
- 9 Costume notes
- 10 The Times - 13th May 1941
- 11 Matthew Lyne's Helmet
- 12 Joyce von Grenfeldt
- 13 Question For You
- 14 "Peautiful Diamundt"
- 15 The "Duck Ballet"
- 16 What the Actors Never Saw
- 17 Gunfire!
- 18 What was on the Menu at the Carlton Tea Rooms
- 19 In House Reviews
- 20 Gallery
- 21 Casualties!
- 22 See Also
- 23 References
- 24 External Links
- 25 Final Note
Pre Show blurb for the Theatre's news letter
Admiral Canaris, head of the Abwehr, receives an urgent memo concerning the British “League of Scientific Discoverers”; U.6 slips its mornings at Wilhelmshaven for a top secret rendezvous off the coast of Kent; a sinister, cigar-toting, American furtively buys cement (and two metal buckets) in the South Downs; in the dope dens of Whitechapel, the Tong of the Green Dragon despatches its most deadly assassin on a mission to Mayfair; the Cosa Nostra transfer four million lira into a Swiss bank account linked to Graf von Brunno, judged by some to be the second most dangerous man in Europe; and a mysterious plane (of decidedly foreign manufacture) swoops beneath the RAF’s radar stations on the south coast. What can it all mean?
Welcome to the world of Bullshot Crummond, an uproarious send up of British B movies of the 1930’s and 40’s. Written in 1974, this two-act comedy was so successful (particularly in America), it was transformed into a film in 1983. SLT’s version sports Ed Cartwright as Captain Hugh “Bullshot” Crummond V.C., in his first major comedy role; the veteran Matthew Lyne, playing no less than eight different people; Sean Chapman as the Teutonic arch-villain, Count Otto Von Brunno; Caroline Doyle as his sadistic side-kick, Lenya; and Lily Howson (in her first SLT role) as the very prim and proper Miss Rosemary Fenton.
We also have a crack back-stage crew to manage what is a very technically demanding show. For example, although a current West End production boasts being the only one to present a plane crash, we’ve got that beat - we have two! Further, the play will also see what is probably the first ever appearance of Luftwaffe aircraft inside the theatre. The show also features seven members of the animal kingdom; sadly, not all of these survive. The props list is demanding, but all is well in hand. One item we already have (a period newspaper) contains the following gem of an advert: “Maid or Maid-companion wanted for elderly lady...must be British”. We were also relieved to be assured in writing by the President of an American company that their props are “...completely inert / dummy / faux, and DO NOT contain any pyrotechnic, explosive, or energetic materials.” The play will include some very interesting sound effects; and period music will be very much to the fore. Indeed, the audience will be charmed by all those old war time favourites: “Panzerlied”, “Deutschland Erwache”, “Wir Fahren Gegen England” and many, many more. Altogether now: “Die fahne hoch....”. Perhaps not.
Finally, a note of caution: although a comedy, this production will feature gunfire and scenes of heart-stopping peril! You have been warned. Prost!
- Captain Hugh "Bullshot" Crummond VC - Ed Cartwright
- Count Otto von Brunno and Salvatore Scalicio - Sean Chapman
- Baroness Lenya von Brunno - Caroline Doyle
- Rosemary Fenton - Lily Howson
- Professor Rupert Fenton - Matthew Lyne
- Algy Longwort - Matthew Lyne
- A Country Policeman - Matthew Lyne
- A Waiter - Matthew Lyne
- Inspector Scabbard of the Yard - Matthew Lyne
- Wolfgang Schmidt - Matthew Lyne
- Marovitch - Matthew Lyne
- Kwang Lee - Matthew Lyne
- Voice over - Alan Walker
- PA - Jill Fenton
- Stage Manager - Graham Clements
- Assistant Stage Managers - Kat Moody, Nik Stavrakis and Paula Kelly
- Lighting Design - Bob Callender
- Lighting Rigger - Anna York
- Fight Director - Anton Krause
- Lighting Operator - Jill Fenton
- Sound Design and Pre Recording of Actors' Voices - Gerard Johnson
- Incidental Music chosen by - James Hough
- Sound Operator - Kevin Leech
- Scenic Artists - Hazel Hindle and Michael Wilson
- Set Design - James Hough
- Set Construction - Graham Clements and Mike Elliott
- Costumes - Hannah Gabrielle with support from Lisa Thomas and Primark!
- Prop Construction - See below
- Dance Choreographer - Brendan Murphy
- Dresser - Hannah Gabrielle for three nights and JH for two!
- Poster - Mark Davies (layout) and Hazel Hindle (image)
- Programme - Maria Bates
- Show Photographs - Phil Gammon
Special Credits to Backstage Crew
- Unfolding map of Britain - Kat Moody
- Stick pointing at map of Britain - Paula Kelly
- Enthusiastic waver of small English flags - Lily Howson
- Clouds passing along back of stage - Graham Clements
- The twirling and completely demented Junkers 87 "Stuka" divebomber (at start and end of play) controlled by - Nik Stavrakis
- Descending parachutes - Graham Clements
- Drake mallard / his brood and duck whistle blower - Paula Kelly
- Flying mallards - Kat Moody and Nik Stavrakis
- Dead pheasant chucker - Paula Kelly
- Operation of all backstage blank gunfire - Kat Moody
- Dressers for the Scalicio / Von Brunno quick change - Paula Kelly and Graham Clements
- Cut outs of car balanced on top of mountain operator - Graham Clements
- Flying of dove to Captain Crummond VC - Paula Kelly
- Battle between "Fritz" and flying dove - Kat Moody and Nik Stavrakis
- Dead dove (known backstage as "the bloodied dove") chucker - Paula Kelly
- Tarantula operation (including by remote control) - Paula Kelly
- Bang sign operator - Graham Clements
- Operation of small Union Jacks at end of play - Paula Kelly and Nik Stavrakis
- Operation of large Union Jack at end of play - Graham Clements
- Operation of streamers at end of play - Kat Moody and (last night only!) JH
- The first crashing Stuka descent noise;
- The German Converse Force Field;
- The sounds for the cars in the car chase in Act 2; and
- The German electric torture chair sounds!
See also links below for free Stuka siren! (Used for second Stuka crash.)
Prop Construction and Other Things
- Converse Force Field - designed and built by Charles Doyle with assistance from Mike Elliott and Brian Fretwell
- German torture chair - designed and built by Charles Doyle; electronic panel section made by JH and attached to chair by Graham Clements
- Car - designed and built by Charles Doyle (with some pretty ineffectual assistance from JH; painted by Michael Wilson
- German radio - designed and built (and then re-built to aid scene change) by JH
- "Fritz" (Lenya's pet falcon) - designed, made and painted by Caroline Doyle
- Flying version of "Fritz"; cut out of small car and mountain - made and painted by Hazel Hindle
- Main bush - designed by Charles Doyle; painted by Hazel Hindle; and made by Mike Elliott
- Von Brunno eagle emblem (never used in show owing to scene change complications: such a shame!) - designed and painted by Hazel Hindle
- Two small bush pieces - made and painted by Hazel Hindle
- Screens - made by Graham Clements and Mike Elliott and painted by Hazel Hindle and Michael Wilson
- Mountain terrain - made and painted by Hazel Hindle and Michael Wilson
- Floor mountings for screens / mountain terrain - made by Graham Clements and painted by Paula Kelly and JH
- Tarantula mounting - designed, made and painted by Graham Clements
- Fairy cakes / bomb gateau and hotel trolley dressing provided by Stuart Grimwood
- Hotel trolley donated to SLT by the Columbia Hotel, Lancaster Gate, London, W2 by kind permission of the General Manager (Andrew McWilliams)
- Parachute fixed to parachute bag by Caroline Doyle
- Letters to Captain Crummond VC and writing on napkin - Lily Howson
- Hand held light for car chase - Neil Carmichael
- Small cut out parachutes and figures made and painted by JH
- "Height indicators" for back stage prop operators (to ensure the props were high enough to be seen by the front row) attached by Kat Moody as advised by JH when sitting in front row prior to dress rehearsal. This followed kind guidance from Anton Krause.
- Drinking "Eastern European Fashion" sequence choreographed by Caroline Doyle.
- Idea for Captain Crummond VC holding up napkin so that the writing thereon was visible to the audience - Anton Krause.
Audience coming in:
- Eric Coates - "The Merrymakers" overture and "Covent Garden" / "Knightsbridge" from the "London Suite"
Opening sequence for the voiceover:
- "Wenn die SS und die SA Aufmarschiert" ("When the SS and Stormtroopers March Out")
Audience leaving after Act One:
- "Everything Stops for Tea" and "Nagasaki"
Audience returning for Act Two:
- "Zittern Die Morschen Knochen" and "Morgen Marschieren Wir" (first night only);
- "Panzerlied" and the "Horst Wessel" song (this was for subsequent nights, owing to unexpectedly rapid arrival of audience, probably due to the dynamite in Captain Crummond's mouth!).
See links below!
Others included: German national anthem; Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" and "Siegfried's Death and Funeral March"; Mussorgsky's "Night on a Bare Mountain"; "Mars the Bringer of War" from Holst's suite "The Planets"; "Morning" from Grieg's Peer Gynt suite; Bach's Fantasia and Fuge in G minor (BWV542) played on the organ of the Jesitenkirche, Lucerne; Liszt's piano concerto no 1 (the "Triangle Concerto"), first movement; "The King is Still in London" (Billy Cotton and his band); "Furioso No 1" (The Crawford Light Orchestra); "The Devil's Gallop" (Charles Williams and his orchestra); "Teddy Bears' Picnic" and "Whispering"; "Clarinet Marmalade"; the "Luftwaffe March" from the Battle of Britain film; "Deutschland Erwache"; Rachmaninoff's piano concerto no 2 (third movement, which JH had to sing in rehearsals, much to the annoyance of a certain waiter at the Carlton Tea Rooms); Rossini's William Tell Overture; Mahler's symphony no. 1 (last movement) for Lenya's "sword" moment; Bernard Herrmann's music for "The Naked and the Dead", "Mysterious Island" and "Cape Fear"; "Rule Britannia" from Sir Henry Wood's "Fantasia on British Sea Songs"; Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance March" No. 1.; William Walton's "Orb and Sceptre" march.
The bar staff kindly agreed to play period music in the interval. The period swing music played was by "Erhard 'Funny' Bauske und Sein Orchester". This orchestra played in the "Cafe Moka Efti" in Berlin between 1936 and 1940 (the Nazi regime banned British and American swing music: "Swing Tanzen Verboten").
Pre show publicity stated that the play took place between the wars. However, it was decided to set the play during World War Two.
Hence, the copy of The Times was dated 13 May 1941; Matthew Lyne wore a WW2 policeman's helmet; and the following....
Fact: the planned German invasion of Britain in WW2 was "Operation Sea Lion" and Kent (where the play was mostly set) was to be invaded by Army Group A under the command of Generalfeldmarschell von Rundstedt. Hence, the following appeared in German:
Otto's map cover (the map inside was, of course, of Kent) said:
- Very Secret
- (Yes honest)
- Army High Command (that is to say: "Oberkommando des Heeres")
- Operation Sea Lion
- Map of Kent, England
- Sector for Army Group A
- Generalfeldmarschell von Rundstedt
Finished off at the bottom with another
- Very Secret
- (Yes honest)
The panels on the German radio said:
- On top right hand side: "This side up"
- On top left side: "Very important piece of German radio equipment"
- On bottom: "Property of Army Group A. Not to be removed from the Headquarters of Generalfeldmarschell von Rundstedt. OR ELSE."
The writing on the German panel of the torture chair said:
- "Special electronic machine for torturing British Scientists."
The writing on Otto's rubber gloves during torture scene (designed to cover up the British logo on them) said:
- "Right hand" and "Left hand" (on the correct ones).
Given the date of The Times, Von Brunno cannot have heard Noel Coward singing the version of "Will You Please Provide Us With A Bren Gun" which was played on his radio, as it was not recorded until 28 July 1941!
- Lily Howson's gloves and handbag previously belonged to Leah Hough, JH's deceased grandmother.
- Ed Cartwright's suit belonged to his grandfather.
- Caroline Doyle's "falcon" outfit was made by Lisa Thomas, who also made Otto's dressing gown and adjusted his jodhpurs!
- Caroline Doyle wore the jacket (or Fliegerblouse) of a German paratrooper (Fallschirmjager) during her first and final appearance. The rank was that of a corporal. The flying helmet was a reproduction Luftwaffe version, but the goggles worn by Lenya and Otto were of British manufacture.
- Caroline Doyle's chauffeur's hat was decorated with the badge (featuring a swastika with a tyre beneath) of the "Nationalsozialistisches Kraftfahrerkorps", the Nazi motoring club. Her dagger was the one used by the same organisation. See link below.
- The women's clothes worn by Lily Howson in the penultimate and final scene, and by Ed Cartwright in the final scene, were from Primark (!).
- Sean Chapman, when in his military outfit, was wearing the uniform of a major (Sturmbahnfuhrer) serving in the Infantry Regiment Großdeutschland ("Greater Germany"). The story behind this is as follows...
JH knows someone from work who is a WW2 re-enactor; this person supplied details of a firm in India which made relatively cheap reproduction military uniforms.
Consequently, an order was placed for a bespoke tunic in Sean's size from Sanjay Suri and his tailors at UNJA Universal, Kanpur, India. Having completed the tunic, Sanjay e-mailed JH to ask what cuff and collar tabs were required. Being dissatisfied with the pictures of various German officers subsequently sent in, Sanjay firmly demanded a decision on the cuff title. JH was therefore constrained to start investigating German army uniforms and their cuff titles, and came up with that for the Infantry Regiment Großdeutschland (a German army - "Wehrmacht" - formation, rather than "armed SS" or "Waffen SS").
The regimental cuff was, apparently, originally green, but this was unpopular with the troops, as that was the same colour as the cuffs used by German customs officials. The colour was changed to black in 1940, which doubtless pleased these evidently fashion-conscious soldiers. The Regiment was ordered to wear the cuff on the right sleeve (in order to distinguish them from the SS, who wore theirs on the left), but Otto was clearly disobeying orders!
Sanjay would always put "Hari Om" in his e-mails to JH, hence "Hari Om Sanjay!" was put in the programme for the show. Sanjay was sent pictures of the show and a copy of the programme and thanked JH for this. Otto's jackboots were supplied by the same firm.
The Times - 13th May 1941
The idea was to get a copy of this with "Hess Lands in Scotland" on the front page. However, this was not reported on that day (contary to some misinformation on the Internet). Rather, The Times announced Rudolf Hess's death, as quoted by Reuter. Presumably the Germans did not know he had landed in Scotland on Saturday 11th May 1941 yet and had provided this as a cover story.
Personal adverts included one from a British captain, announcing he had changed his address to: "Stalag XXA (5), Germany. Grateful for letters."
A letter to the Editor was as follows:
"Sir, - As one of the reasons for the great scarcity of poultry and eggs is the shortage of foodstuffs, why do not people breed geese in large quantities all over Great Britain? These useful birds live on grass and require the minimum of attention.
Brenda Walmisley-Dresser" (Yes, that is her real name.)
Other articles included the Royal Navy having shelled Benghazi and a successful bombing attack on Bremen by the RAF.
Matthew Lyne's Helmet
The policeman's tin hat decoration design was based on an original WW2 model featured on Ebay. The outline of "police" was lovingly pencilled in on the helmet by Hazel Hindle. JH filled this in with black paint and also painted on the Kent County Constabulary logo above it. JH also e-mailed the Kent County Constabulary museum to see if they could send him a picture of one of their WW2 helmet designs, but they did not deign to reply. Matthew was pleased with his helmet, however, by all accounts. Someone in the audience informed JH that they had thought it was a "real one".
Joyce von Grenfeldt
Now then class, you all saw the play didn't you? Now, who can be really clever and tell me how many medals Count von Brunno was wearing? No, Hans, it wasn't five, as the item on his right breast pocket was a badge, not a medal. Anyone know what the badge was? Well done Helga! That's right: the badge was that of the Nazi-British Friendship Society. Yes, you're right, Wilhelm, there aren't many members of that Society anymore.
Now then, what was the medal near his neck? Well done, Jurgen, it was an Iron Cross, Second Class. Right - who can tell me anything about the large silver medal on his left breast pocket? My word, Eva, that's very clever! It was indeed the Silver Spanish Cross which means, as you say, that von Brunno served in the Condor Legion during the Spanish Civil War. Right, what about the medal with a stooping falcon clutching a swastika? I'm very impressed, Gerd! Yes, it is the Luftwaffe Paratrooper's medal and, as you have pointed out so well, it was only awarded to all qualified Luftwaffe Paratroopers.
Turning to the gold medal with the German helmet, swastika and two crossed swords on it, does anyone know what that was? Crikey, Hans! That's very clever indeed! It was indeed a war wounds medal. As it was gold it means that von Brunno had a certain number of war wounds. Anyone know how many? Eva - you are such a smart young girl! Yes, it means he's been wounded in action at least five times!
Now, who can tell me what unit von Brunno is serving in? Splendid Kurt, that's right, it's the Infantry Regiment Großdeutschland. Anyone know what nickname it was given on the Eastern Front? Helga - you are so clever! That's right, it was known as the "Fire Brigade".
Adolf........................................................don't do that.
Question For You
Were Otto's headphones genuine / reproduction Wehrmacht kit with the German markings cleverly hidden with special black Wehrmacht tape? Or were they Sony ones from HMV with some crappy masking tape covering up the logo?
The show required a large (synthetic) diamond. JH found a decent cut glass owl (slightly damaged) in a second hand shop in Caterham which was perfect for the job. He also found a nice pouch for it. However, we lost them both in Streatham Constitutional Club, and had to make do with the top of a decanter jammed into a cufflinks' box.
The "Duck Ballet"
For his first appearance in the last scene, Captain Crummond VC was supposed to be wearing a hat with a bird and bird's nest on top of it. JH spotted a wooden drake mallard in a second hand shop (again in Caterham) which he thought would do the trick. However, the idea of making the hat was dropped and it was decided to use the mallard in the duck sequence instead (this sequence being required to permit Matthew Lyne enough time to change from Professor Fenton into Algy Longwort) near the start of the play.
The mallard was provided with a small flotilla of three plastic ducklings (from a chemist's in Victoria SW1) as well. These arrived on stage suddenly from behind a screen to the accompaniment of a duck whistle. The "peek-a-boo" effect worked but, if the ballet went on too long, you can always blame Matthew Lyne; he determined that the ducks should "have their moment" and therefore entered the stage as Algy (ending the "ballet" with a sneeze) later than the costume change strictly required!
After the show, Stuart Grimwood was overheard saying the following to the wooden mallard: "I don't care what people say - you were the star of the show and don't let anyone tell you otherwise!". The mallard is back in its "place" on JH's hearth and you will be glad to know the ducklings are all now living happily in his bathroom. The three flying feathered mallards, however, are currently consigned to his loft.
What the Actors Never Saw
- Matthew Lyne never saw the "duck ballet"; and
- Ed Cartwright never saw the Union Jack flags behind him at the end of the play.
The show featured eight blank-fired shots per performance. A letter with the following text was sent to the Chief Officer at Gipsy Hill Police Station in the week prior to the production:
Dear Sir / Madam
RE: SOUTH LONDON THEATRE – USE OF BLANK FIRING WEAPON
I am writing to advise you that we will be using a blank firing imitation “Olympic snub” revolver for a production of “Bullshot Crummond” at the South London Theatre, 2a Norwood High Street, West Norwood, London, SE27 9NS. The ammunition is .22 calibre blanks. I have spoken to the Met Police South East London Firearm Squad about this and they expressed no concerns.
The blanks will be fired during the performance from 8 – 10 pm (approx.) on 20 – 25 May. They will also be fired during a dress rehearsal on Monday 19th May and, in addition, there will be intermittent gunfire on Sunday 18th (ammunition permitting). I suspect members of the public outside the theatre will not report the noise, which should not, in any event, be too loud. The audience will be forewarned about the noise; there will be eight shots per performance.
I am informing you about this because the Health and Safety Executive says that we should.
I hope this is helpful and thank you for your time. If you need to contact me (details above), do not hesitate to do so.
What was on the Menu at the Carlton Tea Rooms
The contents of the menu (not visible to audience) said this:
High Tea menu served in our Copper Kettle Restaurant between 5.00pm and 7.00pm daily
served daily in our Copper Kettle restaurant 5.00pm - 7.00pm
- Fillet of Haddock Orly
- Choice of Omelettes
- Deep Fried Scampi Tartare
- Sausage, Bacon, Egg and Black Pudding
- Fresh Roast Chicken and Trimmings
- Homemade Steak and Mushroom Pie
- Gammon Steak and Pineapple
- Prime Rump Steak Garni (2p extra)
- Grilled Liver and Bacon
- Cold: Gammon or Chicken with Seasonal Salad
- All served with appropriate vegetables and potatoes,
tea or coffee, toast and homemade cakes and scones.
- OWING TO THE WAR, CERTAIN ITEMS MAY NOT BE AVAILABLE
The following are samples from our Lunch Menus. Lunch is served in our Whisky Theme Lounge or Garden Room Conservatory (non-smoking), between 12.00noon and 2.15pm.
- Chef’s Soup of the Day served with a Hot Bran Roll
- Copper Kettle Pate
- Button Mushrooms Hongroise
- Roast of Day
- Poached Smoked Haddock and Egg
- Braised Steak and Onions
- Sherry Cream Trifle
- Fairy Cakes (our speciality)
- PLEASE NOTE THAT OYSTERS ARE OUT OF SEASON
- OWING TO THE WAR, CERTAIN ITEMS MAY NOT BE AVAILABLE
In House Reviews
- Thanks to all involved for my sneak preview of this insane show last night!
I don't want to say too much as there are so many wonderful surprises in this show - I don't want to give anything away!
The one word that kept coming to mind throughout the show was - Bonkers!
I enjoyed every minute, and laughed so hard, several coughing fits were induced...
This is a fast-paced, whirlwind of spiffingness and makes one truly proud to be British!
I could say so much more - but really don't want to give anything away - so will just say: you will be sorry if you miss this - it is summink else.
There are some costumes that will be giving me nightmares for some time to come - therapy bills witll be forwarded to Mr Hough...
All the best for the run chaps and fillies!
- What Ho!
Ripping Stuff!! I would go into more detail, but Walls Have Ears
Well done everyone.
- Listen up Chaps,
That bally-scoundrel Otto Von-Bruno is once again on the offensive. With dastardly plans and cunning Hun weaponry in hand, he's out to threaten our very way on life.
Fortunately for us, Hugh 'Bullshot' Crummond is ready to step in and save King and Country.
Top performances by all. Derring do. Stunning vistas. There isn't much that isn't frankly perfect about this show. Congratulations to the cast, crew, and especially Herr. Hough, the mastermind behind it all. So pop on down to get your tickets before the week is out or you'll jolly well regret it.
- Absolutely top hole!
Would like to echo all the sentiments above - well done all for bringing Bullshot to technicolour life.
You've set a high bar, Herr Hough. We look forward to more!
- Well done chaps - excellent job last night. Jolly japes and hearty laughs a-plenty!
- Many congrats to all on a thoroughly entertaining evening It was really good!
- oh. my. god.
I haven't laughed so much in ages. This is bl**dy brilliant.
I NEVER write reviews, and I know everyone says that, but I really don’t. But this one I wanted to write a couple of things and a call out for more!
I don't think that any director, never mind first time director, will have put so much effort into a show that looks so effortless, clever, where everything works, that is so original, different and just well Brill!
The acting is excellent. An all round superb cast. I do have to give a big shout out to Sean however. He is channelling Dr Evil so much and well it just made me laugh out loud that Scottish Sue thought I may have had an accident in my chair. The whole lot of you deserve a really big pat on your backs really, really good fun and a joy to watch.
The one point I would say is that I enjoyed the first half much more than the second. not really sure why, but all I would say is keep up the excellent work in the second half and the audience will stay with you.
However in saying that, the second half did have me in stitches with your car on stage. Just brilliant.
- Utterly spiffing show last night folks. Made me proud to be British.
- Excellent show. Very, very funny. You should definitely go and see it.
- Brilliant direction, excellent acting, great set, props and backstage support and HILARIOUS.
Clever funny and silly funny but never cheap funny.
It will be a challenge to top this comedy.
- Really enjoyable - just what was needed for a long tiring and stressful week.
- I've seen this show at a number of stages in its development and I always thought it was going to be good but it was just great with an audience. A cast with superb comic timing and the wit to play it just as much as it needed without going tiresomely over-the-top. A Prompt show with more crew than cast is an interesting prospect and the backstage people deserved to take a bow as well - for the duck ballet, the car crash and getting the right clothes on the right people at the right time. Terrific sets, sound and FX as well and a lovely cameo from Alan Walker as Mr Cholmondeley Warner.
- Bullshot Crummond is a fine play set in a fine time, an age when the sun never went down on the British Empire (without asking its express permission). Ed Cartwright shines as our titular hero despite a slight case of ‘défaut de fonctionnement de garde-robe’, as the poet Timberlake once called it, while Matthew Lyne proves himself to be a man of many fine parts. High praise also to Lily Howson, who shows not inconsiderable pluck and spunk as Rosemary, not to mention the ever stellar Sean Chapman, chewing both carpet and scenery in a magnificent turn as Otto von Brunno. The cast is rounded off by the wonderfully vampish Caroline Doyle. An honourable mention must also go to the hardworking backstage crew and their dazzling array of props. An excellent production to which one cannot help but tip one’s trilby. Well done to all concerned.
- Congratulations to Director, cast and crew for a truly superb show. Everything worked so well from the acting to lights, sound effects and scene changing. Great timing by all.
I found it very very funny and recommend it to everyone.
- Allo Allo meets Thunderbirds meets Russ Abbott meets Indiana Jones.
That's the only way I can think to describe it. And I mean all that in a good way!
- It was a wonderful show for all the reasons already mentioned by others. The choice of music was superb and it was especially good to hear the first chord of Bach's G minor Fantasia, not just once but twice - once in each Act.
- Absolutely TOP hole gang!
Wow whaat a show James, you should be proud. I know you are really, and well done on attention to detail! And well done to cast who looked like they enjoyed doing the show! I really enjoyed it and it made me truly spiffingly British! Lily truly charming and Ed was made for the part; and Otto and his side kick lady were great; and great accents guys! Mr Lyne - a man of many talents. Costumes lights and set ACE!
And a real bonkers, funny fast paced bundle of fun and cracks! Enjoy the rest of the run and party! And James thanks for the gift! [Reviewer given a stick of inert dynamite as a memento, rather than a bribe!.]
- We saw this last night, and it was a memorable evening I *love* the overall style of the whole thing - cohesive and spot on. Huge attention to detail with costumes and props - obviously a lot of effort was put into them rather than them being afterthoughts, as sometimes happens. The backdrops were like nothing else I've seen at SLT, and cleverly used (a tiny niggle however would be that the cartoons seemed to be from WWII when the play is set a little earlier - but no worries). The car and its perilous predicament, not to give too much away, was particularly effective, I thought. Lighting was dramatic in all the right places, and the music really effectively added to the style of the piece. Another minor niggle might be that the scene changes were sometimes not always as slick as they could be - possibly *because* there was plenty of glorious music being played to cover them. Otherwise, all flying props and other backstage effects were timed perfectly.
To first concentrate on the production values is not at all to say they overshadowed the cast's performances. During the interval I looked at the programme to see how big the cast was - and was surprised to see it was actually just five. I was sure I'd seen far more people than that on stage... All had very strong characters and were good performances, and were often extremely funny. If I had to pick out a favourite moment though it would be Sean and his swift costume changes - absolutely brilliant!
All the cast, crew, and, most of all, James Hough, should be very proud of this production. I don't know if there are still tickets available for tonight and tomorrow, but if there are and you are dithering as to whether or not to make the trek to West Norwood to see it, then go - you definitely won't be disappointed.
- Had a great time at the play the other night, it was highly enjoyed by all present. I loved the bit with the dynamite, when he was explaining how he defused it whilst still inside his mouth, which raised a bit of a cheer from the audience. I got the impression he had really nailed that little bit.
The head Nazi guy was also excellent.
- I sat next to a 'civilian' on Thursday night who said she hadn't laughed so much for as long as she could remember. She also asked me during the second half how it was that if the Germans 'arrived by parachute' they had a car with a personal plate. Jolly observant these bally audience members...
- What a spiffing show last night. I really enjoyed it. Haven't laughed so much for ages!
- A cracking cast, but it was so good to see the style maintained throughout, as well as the numerous special touches such as the puppets, which were even funnier when the pigeon mis-flew! The cast must be knackered at the end, from all that dashing about.
- Our family had a very spiffing evening last night. You would be bonkers to miss this terrific show.
- Us too. I do think you could have given Matthew a bit more to do, though...
Production photos by Phil Gammon - click on thumbnails for larger images
- Lily Howson was knocked over by a bike on the day of the opening night. Lily sustained some nasty scratches and a sprained knee, but, like a proper trooper, carried on, despite this "spot of bother". This required some blocking changes; e.g. Lily was unable to collapse on the floor; be dragged across the floor by Von Brunno; jump on the table to escape the tarantula (except on the last night, by virtue of Mother Nature's healing powers); or crouch behind the crashed car (Ed Cartwright held the car aloft and they stood behind it instead).
- JH managed to partially saw through his left index finger; pierce the next one with a screwdriver; and cut the next one quite badly on a broken cake stand during the get out (medical support for the latter was kindly provided by Christopher Vian-Smith).
- On the show's Thursday night, those in the front seats may have noticed that Ed Cartwright was bleeding from his hand during the sword fight. However, this wound (to the finger) had been caused not during that fight, but by a protruding nail in the sole of the shoe he had used to batter the tarantula with in the scene before!
Bullshot Cocktail (Noel Coward is supposed to have come up with this one)
Ingredients: 3/10 Vodka; 6/10 cold clear beef bouillon; 1/10 lemon juice; 1-2 dashes of Worcester Sauce; 4-6 drops of Tabasco; Pinch of celery salt; Salt and pepper
How to make it: Place some ice cubes in the shaker and add all the other ingredients. Shake for 6-8 seconds and strain into the glass. The cocktail is ready.
Stuka siren available here:
Info about the "Nationalsozialistisches Kraftfahrerkorps" here:
Panzerlied or "Tank Song": various versions available here. This song (which is still sung today in German tank units) featured in the film, "The Battle of the Bulge", with the actor Robert Shaw joining in with the panzer troopers as they sing the song.
A Lego version of Panzerlied is available on Youtube:
You can also see the Chilean army (in their German helmets) parading to it on Youtube:
Horst Wessel song (aka "Die Fahne Hoch") available here:
- Text and melody (MID format),
As an antidote to this Germanic stuff, here's Sir Edward Elgar conducting his own Pomp and Circumstance March Number One:
If you've read all this, you must be very bored indeed!
(Or just green with envy that I was giving birth instead of being able to be involved with this show!! Samantha Golton, Absent Audience Member)