(Tim Walker’s article appeared in the Telegraph, 12/19.)

If there are two words on a playbill that can be taken as a guarantee of quality, then they have to be “Michael” and “Grandage”. The former boss of the Donmar Warehouse launches his theatre company – and its season of five star-studded productions – with Privates on Parade, and it is, needless to say, a singularly wicked pleasure.

Peter Nichols’s raw 1977 farce about a British military concert party stationed in the Far East in the post-war years might appear to be a wayward choice as a curtain-raiser. Its casual racism and homosexual stereotypes make it as politically incorrect a piece of theatre as it is possible to imagine, but it is also human and very, very funny, and its heart is unquestionably in the right place.


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