Marlene Dietrich and the British military seem an unlikely marriage, but Peter Nichols achieves their seamless union in Privates on Parade.
In post-war Malaysia, Terri Dennis presides over the Song and Dance Unit South East Asia, a unit tasked with entertaining their fellow troops. The vaudevillian tone of this play facilitates its raucous story about soldiers, drag-artistry, and post-war colonial politics.
Privates on Parade was first produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1977, when it won the Olivier award for Best New Play. It was revived on the West End in 2012 with Simon Russell Beale in the lead role.