‘War’s a psychological thing, Perkins…’

An audio track of the sequence ‘Aftermyth of War’ from Beyond the Fringe.

I had forgotten how dense in allusions this is – everything from Robb Wilton to Diary for Timothy. It’s also interesting to hear where the audience are laughing – what had, by the early 1960s, achieved the sort of mythical status that made it common knowledge. How many of these jokes would still work, I wonder? Much of the humour is quite gently paced and reliant on the shared experience of those who’d experienced the war or its immediate aftermath as children, then had it reinterpreted back to them on screen. Today, if you’re not a fan of Humphrey Jennings, quite a lot of this sketch falls flat.

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