Privates on Parade
Time Out saysAn adaptation of Peter Nichols' play which continues the strange British love affair with National Service, the Far East, and tatty theatrical camp, rolling them all together in a thin excuse for a plot: a troupe of virgin soldiers trek around up-country Malaysia, doing Carmen Miranda impressions to audiences of blank-faced Gurkhas, and getting caught in the crossfire between Communists, the locals, and their own sergeant's gun-running activities. A few laughs, a few tears; something palatable is being said about the state of the nation. Through it all strides Cleese, barking his familiar brand of pop-eyed, cheerful racism to cover the unmistakable air of a man fighting a losing battle. But it's all rather wan; the sensibilities remain stubbornly theatrical, and the English countryside resolutely refuses to stand in for the Malaysian jungle. CPea.