”Allo, ‘Allo’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

by July 26, 2014

‘‘Allo ‘Allo’ is a stage presentation of the wonderfully successful, BBC TV series that ran from 1982 – 92. Yes more than twenty years ago and still clear in the minds of many. Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft wrote this zany series, like so many other comedies of the day.

The Joondalup Encore Theatre Society is performing this hilarious presentation at Padbury Community Hall, 15 Caley Road, Padbury. Just off the freeway in the northern suburbs, so easily accessible.

Curtain up at 8.00 pm, for two hours of pandemonium, every Friday and Saturday night until 2nd August. There is one matinee on Sunday 27th July at 3.00 pm.

 The tickets are at a bargain price, so this resulted in a very good house. When many established community theatres are charging up to $25, are seeing only 10 to 20 in the audience, then perhaps a cheap ticket and a larger audience is preferable. A very warm welcome.

 

 This centre has a raised stage with curtains, and the seating is well spread out. There were black drapes around the stage, but plenty of good props (Berti Moso) that included some homemade, ingenious and hilarious pieces. The lighting was basic, four floods and two spots, but it was sufficient. Most of the scenes were René’s café, with a few minor scenes on a small lower apron in front of the stage.

          It is 1942 in France. As René (Peter Neaves) is opening his Café René for the day, he explains to the audience of his miserable life with his nagging wife, Édith (Diane Campbell). He starts the typical day with wine, a good morning cuddle from Yvette (Berti Moso) followed by another from his other bit-on-the-side, Mimi (Alyssann Campbell).

         René’s café is the main dining venue for the German officers. First into the café is Colonel Von Strohm (Andrew Fairfoul) and his latest flame, the red-hot Helga (Vicky Williams). The couple are joined at their table by the Italian woman-magnet, the sexiest man alive, Captain Alberto Bertorelli (Joe Jancec).

         Édith decides to entertain the troups with her off-key singing, accompanied on the piano by the master of disguises, Monsieur LeClerc (Rod McGrath). Meanwhile, gay Lieutenant Gruber (Danny Finn) is unfortunately misreading signals from René. Into the café creeps an underground spy, Michelle (Sylvia Messiha) to warn everyone that Gestapo officer, Herr Flick (Ben Robinson) is on his way. Flick has no qualms about kicking two poor peasants (Teneeka Robinson, Rhianydd Meredith) out of their seats. Flick has a huge sexual demand burning inside him, but has no idea how to implement it.

         An English spy, Crabtree (David Cowell), who is dressed in a French policeman’s uniform, delivers to everyone in a thick French accent, with totally the wrong vocabulary, the latest news from British headquarters. He has barely finished when the nastiest officer in the area appears, the dreaded General Von Schmelling (Daniel Bradshaw).

         Can René and his resistance friends outwit the Nazis?

 

It is 5 months since dedicated director, Sharon Wigley, announced the auditions. Many of the cast were in primary school when this TV series hit the screens, but with superb direction and a great deal of hard work, they have captured the mood and genre of the show perfectly.

As I have said in the past, when performing a well-known TV comedy, the audience have a clear picture in their minds of the characters. The director had to find similar looking characters, which she has done with amazing accuracy. Then in this case, they all had to perform with a collection of foreign accents – this they did to perfection.

Many of the cast were on stage for the very first time, so I was blown away with how word perfect they were, their accents unfailing, the chemistry terrific and the expertise with which they used their bodies to deliver the comedy.

I cannot believe that I have been reviewing plays for years, and yet such a highly talented team as this has slipped through my radar for so long. VERY many congratulations to all concerned on such a fun-filled, professional performance. I look forward to your next.