REVIEW BY KEV CASTLE
“Allo Allo” by The Festival Players
Loughborough Town Hall.
I’ve always been a fan of the TV series, so my hopes were high for this stage version, but with such iconic characters, will it transcend to the stage?
Rene and Edith have stashed a priceless portrait, The Madonna With The Big Boobies, stolen by the Nazis, in a sausage in their cellar, where two British airmen are also hiding until the Resistance can repatriate them.
Communications with London using the wireless that is disguised as a cockatoo add to the many embarrassments Rene has to endure in the company of his patrons.
News that the Fuhrer is scheduled to visit the town inspires tricksters disguised as Hitler to frequent the café but Rene summons all the wit he can muster to save his cafe and his life.
Directed by Benjamin Hardy, he took on a task and a half because of the fact that everyone who has seen the TV series will know the characters and will look for the equivalent on stage.
I think that I can safely say that Ben has succeeded in doing this because every actor just seems to morph into the original characters. The voices, the characteristics, the physicality of the characters have all been observed and replicated. When watching this comedy, I forgot the actors and saw the TV characters.
Jon Orton (Rene Artois), Liz Berrisford (Edith
Rozzie Barlow (Mimi), Gareth Busson (Colonel Kurt Von Strohm), Jez Malpas (Captain Alberto Bertorelli), Chris Marshall (Otto Flick), Victoria Price (Helga Geerhart), Kirt Hammonds (Lieutenant Hubert Gruber), Nick Grainger (General Von Schmelling), Simon Page (Officer Crabtree) and Chris Nixon (Roger LeClerc). As a cast, and an ensemble team, they worked so well together that I could not highlight one over the other.
They worked as a team and it was just like watching an extended version of the TV series. The accents were brilliantly funny and the often twisty tongue script didn't floor any of them. A lot of attention has been paid to the script and the delivery, and it shows, and it's that attention that makes this show the hit it is.
The set is brilliant, the costumes are excellent, the sound and lighting is spot on. There is nothing about this stage comedy that you will not enjoy. The jokes have been heard before but they are so well written by Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft that you can't help but laugh. Everything you enjoyed about the TV comedy is here on stage.
“Allo Allo” is, and I will say this only once, on at Loughborough Town Hall only until Saturday 24 February 2018.