25 May 2011
We all remember Allo Allo from the golden age of BBC comedy, the high jinks of the Gestapo, the hiding of the stolen painting (The Fallen Madonna (with the Big Boobies, by Van Klomp)) and the many scrapes that Rene happens to find himself in. Whitley Bay Theatre Company bring back to life the struggle of good vs evil and throw in that extra special knockverst for good measure.
With a brilliant stage design we are transported back in time to war torn France. Rene (played by the fantastic and versatile Jack Halliday) is not only hiding two affairs with his waitresses Yvette (Cheryl Moody) and Mimi (Joanna Wingate) from his wife but is also hiding two British airmen (David Linsdell and James Gray) under the orders of London and the French Resistance’s Michelle (played by ‘I will only say this once’ Alison Stanley). Great sparkling dialogue by David Croft and Jeremy Lloyd make us believe that we are part of the hassle and the strife that is inflicted upon them. The fantastic skills of these two writers come to bear no more so than with the invention of Officer Crabtree (Rob Smith)an Englishman playing a Frenchman with a terrible accent, dressed up as a gendarme, superb acting by Smith had the crowd laughing wildly as he mispronounced just about everything with fantastic comic deliverance. The superb Jenny McGuire playing sexy love struck Helga along side James Mitchinson as Herr Flick both gave fantastic renditions of their characters; McGuire certainly has no problem in shedding her clothes for the audience, her last performance that I reviewed Noises Off showed all the hallmarks of her being typecast, but I know she loves it! The rest of the cast all acted excellently. Dianne Greenwood (Rene’s tone deaf wife Edith), Terry Cassidy (the Colonel), Danny Patterson (Bertorelli the lively Italian, and best in show at Hitler impressions) George Knox (‘It is I, LeClerc’) Alex Covell (Gruber) and Martyn Harbertson (Schmelling) all showed that these days we don’t need a TV licence, we should come to the theatre instead. Many fantastic scenes from the listed created a great night’s worth of entertainment in all aspects of their performance.
The production overall was superb, the sound and lighting (Leah McKenzie) was of a very high standard, some good solo scenes with the lights worked -and were timed- very well
Chris Johnson not only produced and directed brilliantly, but has worked wonders recreating the scenes, especially the café! Very good detail. I especially liked the first sighting of the airmen, very clever!
For an amateur company to yet again pull off- year after year- performances like this is superb, the willingness and the massive hard work that goes into such shows is huge, WBTC have again come up with the goods, a great show with a great cast, go and see it..!!
Runs until 28 May