Out with an explosion

"LISTEN very carefully, I will say this only once."

Does that ring a bell, or a ball as Agent Crabtree would say, I'm sure you're there, in the square at Rene's cafe, Nouvion.

Yes, Rene, Edith and waitresses Yvette and Mimi are open for business as usual at Stamford Hall Theatre for the rest of this week.

alloallo2Unfortunately, all the tables are fully booked as patrons and regulars queue up for the Falcon Players' final (temporarily we hope), show 'Allo 'Allo at Stanford Hall Theatre before moving on to the Sir Robert Martin Theatre at Loughborough University.

Is there anyone reading this article who hasn't seen an episode of 'Allo 'Allo? No, I thought not. So you know what to expect and your expectations are more than met in this bawdy romp.

The Falcons want to go out with a bang, well it's more like an explosion judging by the roars of laughter emanating from the Tuesday's first-night audience.

All the old friends and enemies are there to greet you; LeClerc, Michelle, Von Strohm, Herr Flick and Helga and the rest

Wisely they mimic their TV counterparts and the mimicry is exceptionally well done too. Shut your eyes and listen to Rene and Herr Flick - where's the difference. Brilliant.

It's unfair to pull anyone out of line making their curtain call, they were all so good, carrying the script through the quieter bits, making the most of the slapstick, the double-entendres and turning up the cheeky bits to full volume.

The cast was big enough to include many Falcon stalwarts. Roy Emmett (Von Strohm) and Stuart Bailey ("da big-ga Italiano war hero Bertorelli"), who wouldn't want £1 for every line they've spoken on this stage over the past years.alloallo1

They and the other members were clearly enjoying the adrenaline rush all actors feel when they know they've got the audience eating out of their hands, as it were.

However, a special extra bow and applause for the Holmeses Lawrence and Janet as Rene and Edith, they were stupendous.

Lawrence caught Rene's hang-dog reluctant-hero character perfectly and his excellent timing, broad slapstick and verbal humour were in perfect harmony.

Janet, as Edith, whether frustrating, with bread rolls in her hair or dressed for cabaret as Hitler, was magnificent. Who will ever forget her heart-rending off-key first song? The audience laughed until it cried.

Local amateur dramatics don't come much better than this. The cast, the directors, set designs, special programme writers and all those associated with the Falcon Players deserve the highest praise for such an hilarious show.

And surely it must only be au revior to the theatre. This unique place mustn't be allowed to disappear into the theatrical history books. We must fight for the right to use it.

Roy Jones
Loughborough Echo