Scallywags at The Spring, Havant

Poet and author Benjamin Zephaniah

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The Spring’s resident professional company, Soop, gave a one-night-only presentation of their devised piece – Scallywags – on Friday.

Its improvisational roots are obvious and there is, sometimes, a lack of polish in what occasionally still feels like an embryonic show – but the intelligent, warm, affectionate approach of the company to their subject matter is obvious and Nathan Chapman’s direction gives light and shade.

The Scallywags are a secret Second World War auxiliary unit of four individuals ranging from a boy scout to the village dentist, led by an unlikely transvestite officer who masquerades as Doris, the village postmistress.

The acting honours belong to Georgie McNichol, who achieves the seemingly impossible – imbuing Dennis, the caricatured, ridiculous, stammering dentist, with the dramatic truth most actors would give a limb to achieve. Just beautiful.