|Date||14th November 2019|
|Society||Colwyn Abbey Players|
|Type of Production||Play|
Author: Lyn Emmerson
I have been looking forward to this production for a long time, and it really lived up to my expectation. The piece was based on the successful 1980’s TV sitcom written by David Croft and Jeremy Lloyd. The main set was, of course, René’s café in France during the German occupation, it was well designed and fully stocked with appropriate props. Change of scenes were swift with no pauses, and I liked the appropriate music chosen to suit the start of each scene whether it be Germans, French or Italians involved. Script was pacey from start to finish with no prompts. An excellent production on the opening night of this popular piece with good support from Crew members.
There were many excellent characterisations but I must mention the outstanding portrayal of René by Landon Sweeney. From his first entrance he put his mark on this role, and it was evident that Landon had thoroughly studied the character. Hardly ever off stage, he wallowed in bringing this character to life and his French accent was perfect. His rapport with the audience and his aside lines, together with the timing of the comedy he delivered was faultless throughout. He fully justified his selection for the role. Another powerful performance from Sharon Huxley as René’s unbelievable wife Edith. Great ‘out of tune’ singing from Sharon as she attempted to entertain the cringing punters in the café. I know Sharon has a good singing voice but to sing out of tune is difficult. She maintained her accent throughout and fully immersed herself in this enviable role, being a fine foil for René. Paula Gregory, Lisa Wingate, and Shirley Betts as Yvette, Mimi and Le Clerc respectively, did all that was required of them, but I would have liked a tad more voice projection in their script at times. Sue Buckley as the mysterious Michelle turning up at all the inappropriate moments, completed all her tasks with ease.
I loved the banter between the German Colonel Kurt Von Strohm portrayed by David Huxley and Italian Captain Bertorelli played by Ben Huxley. Both of course had contrasting accents which they both upheld, whilst each trying to display a psychological advantage by one-upmanship. Eifion Blease and Helen Garner were well cast as Herr Otto Flick and Helga respectively, delighting the audience with countless insinuations. Strong characterisation of General Von Schmelling, pulling out all the stops whilst exercising his authority. Great contribution from Jonathan Hughes as Gruber the German officer who had all the audience in tucks of laughter delivering his script with it’s over the top innuendos.
Andrew Shaw as Crabtree was ace at trying to be a British spy, and gave a creditable performance getting all his words the wrong way round which is very difficult.
This piece was true entertainment and a real tonic for all who attended. Thank you so much Colwyn Abbey Players.