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'Allo 'Allo

Date

13th June 2019

Society

Hartley Arts Group

Venue

Victoria Hall, Hartley Wintney

Type of Production

Play

Director

Lesley Nicholls

Report

Author: Chris Horton

‘ALLO ‘ALLO by Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft is set in German occupied France in the second World War and is the stage show of the tv comedy, a parody of the famous TV drama “The Secret Army”.  The main action takes place in Rene’s Café where various people are trying to get their hands on the painting of the Fallen Madonna.  Its full of farce, nostalgia, sexual innuendo and iconic characters.

The stage design was well conceived and of high quality. Rene’s Café was a faithful reproduction of a WW2 French café, central bar, net curtains, doors and stairs well placed. There was very creative use of the relatively small stage to accommodate other settings: the larder and various offices as well as the cinema and Rene and Edith’s bedroom. Properties were many and varied ranging from the parrot (radio transmitter) to the blow up Hitlers, not to mention the sausages and paintings of the Fallen Madonna. All were well used and incorporated into the story. 

The costumes were in keeping with period and narrative. There was great attention to detail: the military costumes, Edith’s dresses, the waitresses' outfits not to mention the villagers populating the café.  Helga’s bra, complete with swastikas was a comic highpoint, costume wise!

The period feel of occupied France was beautifully recreated throughout the evening which opened with the familiar theme music. There were some lovely performances led by Kevin Cluett who was outstanding as Rene and was a great choice for the lead. There was a strong ensemble with near perfect accents and mannerisms.  Sarah Lee as Helga warrants special praise for her mini striptease and Lily O’Sullvian for her not too tuneful singing! Under the direction of Lesley Nicholls, this was an evening of pure farce, madcap nostalgia and comic genius performed with enthusiasm and energy.