The Good Scout.
theSpace@Surgeons’ Hall V53
August 2 to 24. (Not 13) 20.20
🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 (Five Stars)
The Good Scout illuminates a very largely forgotten corner of our national history, and reveals itself to be relevant in a number of ways. Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scout movement, was very keen on Hitler in the 1930s. Exchange visits between the Hitler Youth and British Scouts took place in the late thirties.
This play, the latest in the Boys of the Empire series, written and directed by Glenn Chandler, tells the story of some scouts in a small English town who are very excited to be visited by some members of the Hitler Youth. They are greeted with warmth and friendship, but their behaviour and attitudes begin to cause concern. Are they as innocent and at ease as they appear? Could they be “spy cyclists”?
Will Parrish (Clement Charles – whom many will remember from the brilliant Kid’s Play last year) and Jacob Collier (Charlie Mackay) are nervous but keen to share times with the Germans.
Jacob develops an especial enthusiasm for Gerhard (Clemente Lohr), and the lad’s den proves freshly useful. Friedrich (Simon Stache) proves to be less than happy with the state of his nation. Gerhard, however, has a hold over him, one of rank, of secrets, and of sexuality.
There are factual historical interludes performed with a mixture of seriousness and light flair, making us aware of compromises made that may be all but forgotten. As Will says, come here and you learn some things. But you will also be richly entertained and drawn into the plot, as it becomes difficult to know who may be trusted out of the whole group, and just who is keen to spend time in the den? Warnings come from the outside, kin the form of John Dory (Lewis Allcock), who seems very reputable. But, like the others, is he all that he seems?
Come and enjoy this entertaining puzzle, which is a revelation concerning a forgotten corner of history, and is also a reflection on the cruelty of attitudes to gay sexuality at the time the play is set.
Here are a bunch of fine lads (and their industrious mum, (Amanda Bailey)), whose company you will enjoy, taking you back to a time that may in some ways have been simpler, but was in no way more innocent. Apart from Mum, innocent is hardly a word that can be applied to any of the characters here. Don’t you want to know why?