Review: David Benson and Jack Lane in Dad's Army Radio Hour, York Theatre Royal, June 21

YOU should have been watching David Benson and Jack Lane in Dad's Army Radio Hour, playing 25 characters between them in radio adaptations of three of Jimmy Perry and David Croft's beloved BBC sitcom scripts.

Not only were they both masters of vocal mimicry, but every familiar mannerism too, whether Benson's raised hand and arched eyebrows for his favourite, John Le Mesurier's Sergeant Wilson, or Lane, 25 years his junior, affecting Captain Mainwaring's twitching fingers and bluster so brilliantly you saw beyond the age gap.

Benson first came to award-winning attention with Think No Evil Of Us: My Life With Kenneth Williams, wherein he impersonated Williams, Le Mesurier and other comedy heroes alike, and after he saw Lane doing likewise with similar elan in his Norman Wisdom show, Wisdom Of A Fool, he knew he had found a perfect partner in comedic timing for Dad's Army.

Wearing Army uniforms and boots, and entering each time to the audience singing along to Bud Flanagan's theme song, Benson and Lane stood behind microphones with scripts alongside, as if in a radio studio making a live recording, aided by sound effects, On Air signs and Applause encouragement for My British Buddy, The Day The Balloon Went Up and The Deadly Attachment. They would step away for muffled background chatter among the old Home Guard of Walmington-on-Sea or to convey walking into a room, every last detail so precise in Owen Lewis's marvellous, nostalgic stage production.

The nimble Benson and Lane were each so good, they couldn't scene-steal; instead they and their audience enjoyed a mutual appreciation of the 50th anniversary of these national treasures, Benson delighting as the befuddled Godfrey, doom-struck Frazer and wheeler-dealer Private Walker; Lane so uncanny as doddery Corporal Jones, "stupid boy" Pike and even Walker's saucy girlfriend, Miss Shirley. Utterly British, utterly joyful.

War, what is it good for? Giving us Dad's Army and "a bunch of idiots pitted against an existential force" (and if that also sounds like our Brexit negotiations, then so be it).

Charles Hutchinson