Dick is so determined to thwart this evil tea plot

The curtain went up on the Hemel Hempstead Theatre Company’s latest show last night – but you’ve still got until Saturday to catch the stirring adventures of radio detective Dick Barton brought to the stage.

Director Karina Bygate is full of enthusiasm for the tongue in cheek thrills served up by this musical take on one of the nation’s favourite postwar heroes, and has no fears of the title character being a yesterday’s man.

Hemel Hempstead Theatre Company production of Dick Barton, June 2013

Hemel Hempstead Theatre Company production of Dick Barton, June 2013

“I’ve only come across one person who had not heard of Dick Barton so far,” she said.

“I think even though many are too young to know much about him, most are vaguely aware that he was a good guy who fought the bad guys.”

The story pitches Dick against the evil Baron Scarheart and his gang, who have hatched an evil plot to control the British public by contaminating the nation’s stocks of tea.

Dick is played by Dave Simmonds, better known as the company’s panto comedy specialist, whose top-class timing and bags of energy are put to good use here.

Paul Passi is the baddie, while Mariam Gaballa-Gill is his femme fatale Marta Heartburn.

Dick’s famous sidekick Jock is a role for Sherief Hassan, described by Karina as “a very natural actor, one of the few I know that can do a really convincing Scottish accent – and he also looks really good in a kilt.”

The show continues until the weekend, with a matinee on Saturday. Check out www.boxmoorplayhouse.co.uk for ticket availability.