Privates on Parade
|Privates on Parade|
West Yorkshire Playhouse production
|Written by||Peter Nichols|
|Date premiered||17 February 1977|
|Subject||British army ENSA group after World War II|
|Setting||1948, South East Asia|
The play is set around the activities and exploits of the fictional Song and Dance Unit South East Asia (SADUSEA), a mostly gay British military concert party stationed in Singapore and Malaysia in the late 1940s during the Malayan Emergency. The drama draws upon Nichols' own experiences in the real-life Combined Services Entertainment, the postwar successor to ENSA, Entertainments National Service Association. The play is noteworthy, inter alia, for a series of musical numbers, performed by the male lead, parodying the style of such performers as Noel Coward, Marlene Dietrich and Carmen Miranda.
It was premiered at Stratford by the Royal Shakespeare Company, before receiving its London première at the Aldwych Theatre on 17 February 1977, where it ran for 208 performances. This production won the 1977 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy.
It was revived in 1979 at the Derby Playhouse, and again in 1982 with Bruce Payne as Flight Sergeant Kevin Cartwright and Tim Barlow; another revival was produced in 1989. A 2001 revival directed by Michael Grandage at the Donmar Warehouse had a cast including Roger Allam, James McAvoy, Malcolm Sinclair and Indira Varma, set design by Christopher Oram and choreography by Scarlett Mackmin. Allam received the 2002 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor for his performance.
Awards and nominations
- 1977 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy
- 1990 New York Drama Critics' Circle Award Best Foreign Play
- 1990 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play: Simon Jones
- Nichols, Peter (1977). Privates on Parade: A Play with Songs in Two Acts (First ed.). New York: Samuel French. ISBN 0-573-11347-5.