Peter Nichols discusses Privates on Parade

13th October 2008 Comment·

in 1950s Drama, Comedy, Playwrights



The veteran playwright, now 81, chats to Dominic Cavendish about the autobiographical basis for Privates on Parade, revived by Ian Brown at West Yorkshire Playhouse and Birmingham Rep, and reminisces about comedians Kenneth Williams and Stanley Baxter, with whom he served in the Combined Services Entertainment concert party in Singapore in 1947.

I all the time felt with television that I wanted input from the audience – what are we doing talking to each other when we could be talking to them?

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Morrie Tabak December 13, 2012 at 12:34 am

Dear Peter, Listened to your interview with great interest . I was sent to India in 1945 and like you went for an audition to New Delhi. They wanted a stage designer/ costume Designer. I was interviewed by Squadron Leader Fletcher and Pilot officer Michael Finlayson and was transferred from my unit in Nagpur the week after. I replaced a designer named Berkeley Sutcliffe who was demobbed
I designed the set for the Opening night of “It’s not so much the heat” David Climie wrote the play.He was in Delhi with CSE. The play opened in Delhi ( A theatre that was a YMCA) The Viceroy and all the big brass were there. After the show all the cast were invited to the Viceroy Palace for dinner. The play then travelled on to Calcutta and Burma .
I was with CSE for 2 years during which time I designed many musical all male reviews . On demob I worked as set designer in Rep. with Laurence Naismith. It was all great fun and looking back a unique experience. I am now 87 and last month I designed and painted the sets
for ‘The Dragon of Wantley” a baroque opera much to the delight and surprise of family and friends. Am I the oldest surviving member of CSE? I am looking forward to seeing your show.
My best wishes for the New Year …. Morrie Tabak 02082868336


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