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'Allo 'Allo at Louth's Riverhead Theatre

Updated: Apr 8, 2023

'Allo! ‘Allo! By Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft

Louth Playgoers

Louth Riverhead Theatre

Wednesday 10h – Saturday 13th November 2021

As the familiar lilting tone of the theme tune dances across the air, the audience will be transported to wartime France and the ridiculous antics of the citizens of Nouvion. At Café Rene we are re-introduced to our sitcom favourites as depicted by Louth Playgoers’ finest. The role call is complete as we meet Rene himself, his tuneless deluded wife, Madam Edith, Yvette, Mimi, Michelle of the resistance, Le Clerc, Gruber, Von Klinkerhoffen, Officer Crabtree, Herr Flick and Helga, Bertorelli, Carstairs and Fairfax.

Mostly set within the Café itself, the set is beautifully realised in a light and airy way that is instantly familiar with its slightly tatty French flair. As on the BBC, we are greeted by Rene Artois, played admirably by Magnus Moorhouse who sets the scene via a recap. The warmth and wit of Moorhouse as a performer works well in this production. The naughty twinkle in his eye, reminds us what the ladies find so attractive.

And as per TV, the waitresses Yvette played by Christina Chen and Mimi by Cheryl Vallely make the most of their roles as they throw themselves at Rene with passion. Both bring their own twist to the role and Chen in particular seems really comfortable as the scarlet woman. Whereas Vallely brings a fierce intensity to her desire to kill Nazis.

To me, Moorhouse is the star of the show, hardly ever leaving the stage with amazingly long speeches. His timing is immaculate, and he is the engine that keeps the motor running in the show. But his wife Edith, played by the immensely talented Julia Burnett often steals the show from ‘under his nose’ with her hilarious, self-deprecating performance as she sings (tunelessly), dances and teases members of the audience along with her fellow cast members.

The Germans are as inept as ever along with the lothario Italian, captain. Chris Rozier is hilarious as the General replete with bad “wiglet” and Joel Howard as his foil Bertorelli, milks the role for every laugh possible bringing a physical energy not often associate with the captain traditionally.

Ed Mapletoft embodies the role of Herr Flick of the Gestapo perfectly and plays the role brilliantly and Helga his willing accomplice and love-interest is played by Megan Mapletoft bringing to mind the TV personality exceptionally well.

Special mention should be given to Andy Vallely’s portrayal of Gruber, an effete officer with an eye for Rene. Valley plays it subtly and never goes over the top which one light be tempted to do. Catherine Dell plays Von Schmelling, a new character with Keith Larcombe is a German soldier.

The Allies are rounded out by Jerry Smith as the ridiculous undercover agent Le Clerc, Jinette Sexton as Michelle (“Listen very carefully, I shall say zis only once…”), Darren Melton as the absurd British officer masquerading as a policeman with pigeon-French and Ian Cahill and Melissa Andrews as the British airmen in hiding.

Rarely dropping in pace, this show deftly directed by Rob Mapletoft and Adam Barter will delight fans of the show and theatre audiences who may be new to this story, alike.

As Winter begins to take a grip outside, ‘Allo ‘Allo is just the Winter warmer you need. You will hear all your favourite lines and familiar gags including "The Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies". It runs from Wednesday 10th – Saturday 13th November from 7:30pm and tickets are available from the Riverhead Theatre box office and online.

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