Hi de Hi

Date 29th May 2012
Society Port Sunlight Players
Venue Gladstone Theatre, Port Sunlight Birkenhead
Type of Production Play
Director Janet Roxby

Report

Author: Budge Grounsell

Gladys Pugh (Adele Riley) got the show running from the moment she said “hello campers hi de hi” and got the time honoured response “ho de ho” from an audience who were ready and waiting for it. The accent was impeccable and maintained throughout the action together with that “look” which was so reminiscent of Ruth Madoc. From then on the cast of familiar characters emerged as the struggling actors, has beens or wannabes which many of us associated with Maplins holiday camp. The camp manager Jeffrey Fairbrother ideally played by Gareth Jones and beloved of Gladys who seemingly kept him in a state of confusion. Ted Bovis (Terry Davies) recapturing the style of the old fashioned comic plagued by his estranged wife (Yvonne Crowhurst) and perpetually seeking to perpetrate his money making scams on all and sundry; aided but not abetted by Spike (Gerry Johnson) trying to keep him reasonably on the straight and narrow. The two fugitives from come dancing Barry and Yvonne Hargreaves ( Tony Penny and Marj Lunt)who tried to convey they were a cut above the rest but their relationship with each other didn’t quite support this. Although not developed as strongly as in the original tv show Fred Quilley (Stuart Clay) the riding instructor maintained his character well and Sylvia ( Laura Edmondson) looked good enough to be the most popular yellowcoat, attractive and complete with the long legs the writers envisaged.
Cheryl Williams as Peggy Ollerenshaw was a delight. playing the chalet maid /wannabe yellow coat she was totally believable and funny with it. A trio of attractive red coats in the shape of Jennie Lancaster,Dianne Johnson and Diane Dilworth together with their male counterparts contributed to the overall conception of holiday camp staff. It is always difficult to maintain the pace when resurrecting a hit tv show, scene changes cannot be hidden by film dissolves but director Janet Roxby coped with this well and got the most out of the players. getting the audience involved, not only with “ho de hos” but with the “voting” which was a clever move and enabled “Peggy”,on the night I saw it, to provoke considerable laughter as she raced around trying to find the “voters”. Let us not forget the backstage team who are seldom seen but do such an important job. Well done everybody.