The danger with moving something as well known as ‘Allo ‘Allo to stage is being faithful enough to the television show.
However Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft’s play delivered nostalgia without resorting to endless lists of quotes. The original story borrowed from famous episodes, centred – as always – around hiding ‘the fallen Madonna’ by Van Klomp and developed into complete and hilarious farce within minutes. Cafe Rene was faithfully replicated, with the out of tune piano replaced by Les Hartill’s unexpectedly tuneful accordion. Chris Caine’s Rene Artois wore his customary gloomy appearance; his reproduction of the restaurant patron was meticulous right down to the occasional high pitched incredulous squeak, his spirit only ever raised by appearances from his serving girls.
The supporting cast did a skilful job from Edith’s (Sarah Radcliffe) off-key singing to Yvette (Lisa Creighton) and Mimi’s (Rachel Cain) outrageous flirting with the officers to Michelle’s (Rachel McWhinnie) ‘listen very carefully, I shall say zis only once’ drawing cheers from the audience. Ze Germans played their essential role as both rulers and figures of fun with Karl Bovenizer’s obstinate Herr Flick providing some hilarious moments. Officer Crabtree’s (Howard Caine) inevitable appearance almost stole the show with several never-before-heard mispronunciations to add to my list of ‘Allo ‘Allo favourites.
Minus a slight loss in storyline towards the first half’s end, the plot glued together well with few noticeable breaks in character. The cast did not shy away from the script’s sexual innuendo, and managed to keep the audience laughing throughout the thoroughly enjoyable evening.