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KATS - 'Allo 'Allo!

5th to 8th August 2015.

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

The Artois of entertainment

A noostalgic ivening with KATS, knackwurst and that pinting by van Klomp

Kennet Amateur Theatrical Society: 'Allo 'Allo, at Bucklebury Memorial Hall, from Wednesday, August 5, to Saturday, August 8

The popularity of 'Allo 'Allo! is a phenomenon that cannot be disputed. The TV show ran for 85 episodes over a period of 10 years from 1982 to 1992, regularly attracting many millions of viewers. The stage version is rather more risqué than the television series, but this was a super production from KATS and a fantastic evening of nostalgic comedy filled with double entendre and all the familiar catchphrases – sometimes delivered by the audience.

The plot revolves around the real and fake portraits of the 'Fallen Madonna with ze big boobies by van Klomp', one of which is hidden in a knackwurst sausage for the Colonel (Kev Miller) and Capt Alberto (Craig Robinson), who plan to sell it after the war. Unbeknown to them, Edith (Pam Hicks) and René Artois (Mike Cole) are also planning to sell the real one when the war ends and give the Colonel a forgery. In the mix, Herr Flick (Dave Marsh) has been ordered to acquire it on behalf of Hitler, but wants keep it for himself and his assistant Helga (Carrie Marsh). Add in the antics of Yvette (Claire Bowden with her deep growl of "Ooooooh, René!"), Alison Brownfield's feisty Mimi, Dave Richardson's Crabtree, John Hicks' delightfully camp Gruber, Gemma Cole's Michelle ("Listen carefully…") and all the other well- played roles, it created some really great comedy with loads of laughs.

I must single out Mike Cole for his exemplary and superb portrayal of René – this is a huge part and he held the action together skilfully.

The entire cast must be congratulated on their performances, which showed a real depth of talent under sure direction of Mandy Cole and Carrie Marsh.

The high quality of the stagecraft was impressive and the attention to detail was evident throughout. The well-dressed and clever set, depicting many locations by the use of rotating periactoids was ingenious and the costumes and uniforms were excellent.

The sound effects, visual gags and business were particularly well-handled – this show demands some of the most bizarre items ever to make their way onto a props table – an inflatable Hitler to mention just one…