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  • Stacey Ireson

Theatre Review: '"Allo 'Allo" | Encore Performing Arts

Disclaimer: Complimentary tickets were gifted for review purposes. All views and opinions are my own

Listen very carefully, I shall say this only once…

Now, I have very fond memories of watching "'Allo 'Allo" on TV, but I was quite young at the time and don’t have the most reliable memory, so I thought I might need the help of a subject matter expert.  And who better to call then my Dad, who has the whole series on DVD and could probably quote most of it himself. So, my Dad and  I rendezvous’d at The Duchess Theatre in Long Eaton to go and watch Encore Performing Arts in their production of “Allo, Allo”.  

From the moment that iconic theme tune started up, I was hit with a wave of nostalgia that really set the tone for the whole evening.  The show features all of the key highlights from the series, and fans will recognise many of the catchphrases and comic skits - in fact it becomes a bit of a game to see which one you think will come next!

Director/Producer Adam Guest had clearly spent a lot of time with the cast, ensuring that the tone perfectly matched that of the original series.  We’ll talk about the cast in more detail shortly (shitly?), but there were characters in the play that I had completely forgotten from TV, who walked on stage and I went “Oh, it’s that one!”  That’s how accurate their portrayals were. (I wonder how many episodes of the show they had to watch to capture it so perfectly?)

The French

Christopher Grantham is something of an acting chameleon and that was particularly apparent in his performance as Rene, everyone’s favourite frazzled frenchman.  Every line and mannerism was delivered with precision and as the show went on he just kept getting better and better.   Rene really is the heart of the story, and the same could be said of Christopher's performance as he juggles the ever-increasing demands of the Germans, the Resistance and, of course, his wife.

That oblivious wife is Edith, played brilliantly by Angela Plant.  Edith provides so much comic relief, particularly in her tone-deaf cabaret performance and a slight mix-up with a sausage.  I thought Angela had great chemistry with Christopher as Rene and really made the most of every moment she was on stage.

Mariko Jones was equally as funny as the flirtatious waitress,  Yvette.  Her illicit moments with Rene provided some of the funniest moments in this show and Mariko really knew how to deliver a punchline and some brilliant innuendo.  

I really loved the character of Mimi,the second of Rene’s secret love interests as played by Sian Scattergood-Grantham. It would have been so easy for these two characters to merge together, however both actresses did a fantastic job at making them individuals.  Sian particularly excelled with Mimi’s stern facial expressions and threatening outbursts and I just couldn’t stop watching her.

In the TV series, my favourite character was always Michelle, one of the leaders of the French resistance.  Emma Collins really captured the essence of the character, especially on her iconic lines. I loved how she would turn up at the most inopportune moments with some new scheme in which to embroil Rene and she never failed to get a laugh out of the audience.

Another actor who seemed to fall effortlessly into the role was Terry Stevenson as the master-of-disguise, Leclerc.  (Who also happened to build the set - can you say multi-talented?) Without fail, Terry landed every single line and I so looked forward to seeing where he was going to turn up next.  From the laughs coming from the auditorium I would say he was something of an audience favourite as well.

The Germans/Italians

Not to be outdone by the French, there were also some spectacular performances coming from the German camp.

Steve Dunning displayed some excellent comic timing and wig-wearing as the ridiculous Clonel Von Strohm and Kheenan Jones was another splendid addition as Gen. Von Schmelling. You'll have to forgive me if I start to get a bit repetitive - I'm currently running out of ways to say "hilarious".

Gabryl Oleshko and Hayley Wood made a fantastic comic duo as Herr Flick and the German Captain, Helga.  Both performers really understood the assignment and bounced off each other as their scenes together got wackier and wackier.  Their vocal delivery and facial expressions were second-to-none, with Hayley in particular perfectly mimicking the character from the original TV show.

Tom Allmark was fabulously funny as Captain Bertorelli, the Italian ally of the Germans.  The cinema scene with Helga was probably one of the comedic highlights of the show and Allmark was not afraid to throw himself into the farcical nature of the character.

Perhaps the most astounding impression came from Harvey Latter as Lieut. Gruber, who harbours a secret crush on René.  Harvey’s portrayal of Gruber was accurate to the point of uncanny and you would have been forgive for thinking you were watching the original actor.  I was in stitches during his moments of mis-communication with Rene and it is a performance I will remember for a long time to come. 

The British

Officer Crabtree is such an iconic role, that it could almost be a little risky for an actor to undertake. Stuart Ball made it look SO easy. He completely nailed the easily recognisable speech patterns of the bumbling policeman and his mangled attempts at speaking French were a real-scene stealer.

Although not the biggest roles in the play, Maria Lawrence and Abbi Burns certainly made a big impression as the two British airmen hiding in the cellar.  From the very first moment they appeared on stage, they were greeted with hoots of laughter and this become something of a pattern throughout of the show.  A fine example of how you can make a lot of character out of little in the script.

Rounding off this exemplary cast was Ron Frost, Tom Preston, Angela Walters and Rebekah Street as “The Peasants”.  Far more than just walking window dressing, these characters helped flesh out the world of ‘Allo Allo and also played an integral part in a number of the comedy scenes throughout.  

If you have never seen anything of ‘Allo Allo before then I think you can still get a lot out of this show.  You may be a bit baffled by some of the running jokes, but you will certainly still find yourself chuckling along.

It’s real fans of the series, however, that will really be in for a treat as they are transported back in time and watch some of their favourite comedy memories brought to life.  The whole company of "‘Allo 'Allo" should be incredibly proud of how much effort they have taken to re-create these iconic scenes from TV history.  It all comes together to create a hilarious, fast-paced, unique theatrical experience that I really cannot recommend enough.

I had planned on asking my Dad to chip in with his thoughts, but he’s actually beaten me to it and written his own review so why not head over to his blog here and get the views of a more seasoned expert.  (Spoiler alert - he was equally as impressed!)

"'Allo 'Allo" runs at The Duchess theatre until Saturday and if you are lucky you may still be able to nab a couple of tickets.  Tickets are on sale here.

Thanks again to Encore Performing Arts for inviting me a long.  I never fail to be impressed by the quality theatre you produce.



If they 1nvote you to witch their prediction of Allo Allo 2, then of coose, I will niturally expoct an invotution as wool. Licking furwod to it!

Stacey Ireson
Stacey Ireson

🤣 It took me far too long to read that comment!



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