Saturday, August 13

Tom, Dick and Harry – Alexandra Palace

Tom, Dick and Harry is a flamboyant, fun, family friendly version of what most people will recognise as The Great Escape. After extensive research, a more truthful, less Hollywood retelling is what this play gives its audience. The title, Tom, Dick and Harry reflects the research undertaken by the writers by using the code names given to the tunnels which the prisoner’s of war use in an attempt to escape German capture. Written by Michael Hugo, Andrew Pollard (both of which perform in the play) and director Theresa Heskins, the writing brings levity and humour to what could be a long and historically heavy play. The scenes can linger a little on humorous asides and there is a lack of tension in places but the pace picks back up in the group scenes.

Set in the round in the beautiful Alexandra Palace, a more fitting venue could not be chosen.  Inventive directing came from Heskins with trap doors into the floor of the stage, ladders and a wonderful pulley system which created the tunnel. Clever tricks with costume and props created slick and smooth transitions.

Having the audience on all sides helped hone in on the lack of escape for the characters and also lent itself well to audience interaction. Yes, audience interaction in a World War Two drama! Referring to some of the audience members as fellow PoW’s created a playful world where the audience and actors were both very aware this was a play. This is not your typical boy’s own adventure. Surprisingly, you get songs, dancing and even a Carmen Miranda-esque tribute act!

Tom, Dick and Harry is a real ensemble piece in which the characters are all well rounded and as an audience we get to know them all well, creating our own opinions and favourites. The star performance however comes from the charismatic Dominic Thorburn who played Ballard, the mastermind behind the men’s escape plan. A perfect 1940’s vocal performance, combined with natural leadership presence allows Thorburn to lead the group of men without hesitation. Another notable performance comes from Perry Moore as Fritz the comedy cowardly lion of the German forces. He especially shines in the boxing sequences, a highlight of the strong physical element of this show, stylishly choreographed by Beverley Norris-Edmunds.

A special mention has to go to Lis Evans for the costume design. It completely transports you to the era with detailed, handsome suits, ingenious civvy clothes with magical transitions, and an unnerving design to depict faceless members of the public. This historically accurate element of the play combines well with the more modern projections and lighting design from Daniella Beattie.

A pun filled, British adventure story packed with energy and enthusiasm. If you are looking for an entertaining night based in truth then Tom, Dick and Harry is for you.

Playing until 28th August, further details of the show and tickets can be found at https://tomdickandharryonstage.com/

Reviewer: Caroline James

Reviewed: 28th July 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★

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