Cheery 'Allo 'Allo for devoted audience at Alban Arena

DECADES after it first shot to fame on the BBC, the legendary sitcom Allo Allo has taken its wartime humour to the stage and, at the opening Alban Arena night last week, it proved that it was back for good. The audience of Allo Allo old-timers gave a

DECADES after it first shot to fame on the BBC, the legendary sitcom 'Allo 'Allo has taken its wartime humour to the stage and, at the opening Alban Arena night last week, it proved that it was back for good.

The audience of 'Allo 'Allo old-timers gave a happy and nostalgic welcome to Ren� Artois, the hapless French caf� owner who is forever plagued by his "problems with ze ladies" and the madcap escapades of the French Resistance in which he's caught up.

The farcical plot revolves around the whereabouts of Van Klomp's 17th-century painting - The Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies - which Ren� has ingeniously rolled inside one of his best German sausages.

For someone who has never seen the original TV series, the theatre production was surprisingly easy to follow. At times Ren� - brilliantly played by Jeffrey Holland of Hi-de-Hi fame - would freeze the frame and explain (both to himself and the audience) what on earth was going on.


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Despite packing 10 years of TV shows into just one two-hour play, producer Ed O'Driscoll has successfully remained true to the original series and has kept in all the familiar jokes, the endearing politically-incorrect national stereotypes and the mounds of innuendo.

In fact, the stage version was at times more risqu� than the TV series and Private Helga Geerhart's striptease for Gestapo officer Herr Flick seemed to shock rather than amuse the Alban Arena audience.

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Vicki Michelle, who plays one of Ren�'s mistresses Yvette, is the only surviving original cast member and she was a sure-fire hit with the audience. The feisty Mimi - Rene's other lover - played by Claire Andreadis got just as many laughs and wolf-whistles.

Despite a few overly-scandalous scenes, the 'Allo 'Allo stage production proved to be a fun evening of nostalgic comedy filled with all the familiar catchphrases for diehard fans who want to relive their favourite eighties BBC series.

CHARLOTTE MORGAN

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