|Date||17th May 2019|
|Society||Washington Theatre Group|
|Venue||Washington Arts Centre|
|Type of Production||Farce|
Author: Foster Johnson
Transferring a well loved piece of television comedy history to the stage and then putting your own spin on it is not an easy thing to adapt and do. This is especially so when the piece you are working from has been condensed into one show from a series of television episodes.
This was the issue faced by Washington Theatre Group and its Director Matthew Lowe when presenting this version of Hi De Hi to the general public.
Well they made a really good job of it as testified by a full house at the Washington Arts Centre. The audience really lapped it up and after a quiet start got into the swing of things with their reactions to the comedy and the audience participation element of the show. Ho De Ho’s were ringing around the auditorium regular intervals. Added to this was the clever touch of using the audience as the camp visitors and getting them to vote in the Yellow Coat of the year awards which was intrinsic to the plot line. The only downside was that due to Theatre availability it could only be staged for two nights. I am sure that with a longer run many more would have attended so helping with costs. Nevertheless it was well received and went down extremely well.
Those who know the Show are aware of the number of larger than life characters in Hi De Hi However from my point of view and through no fault of the Group the play does not allow these characters to be fully developed because of the limitations imposed by the script and the length of the production. You only got a flavour of these wonderful characters. That was such a pity. As a result the thrust of the play as I saw it revolved around the love life of Jeffrey Fairbrother the Camp Entertainments Manager pursued by Gladys Pugh the Leading Yellow Coat and the desperate desire of Peggy Ollerenshaw the Camp Cleaner to become a Yellow Coat, themes that were prominent in the television series. These were interspersed by the usual comedic inter relationships between the characters such as the money making wheezes of Ted Bovis attempting to raise cash to pay off his estranged wife.
Having said this however it was an enjoyable evening and the cast of 16 are to be congratulated on the amount of hard work they put in to make it so. It was a big well done to John Cairns(Ted Bovis) Danny Stones(Spike) Doug Walker(Mr.Partridge) Peter Wilson (Fred Quilly) Pamela Elliott and Peter Fitzpatrick (Barry and Yvonne Stuart – Hargreaves) Angela Chard (Sylvia) Christine Jary (Betty) Angela Marshall (Tracy) Michael Tetchner (Mr.Pritchard) Ingrid Middleton (Hilary Bovis) Matt Littledyke (Bailiff) and Clare Rycroft (Dawn) In particular I would like to mention John Seymour (Jeffrey) Joanne McLernon (Gladys) and Catriona Brannigan-Uren (Peggy) for their characterisations of their respective roles.