'Allo 'Allo! will be a triomphe for the soul at Romford theatre
PUBLISHED: 15:00 12 March 2016
Listen very carefully, we shall say 'zis only once...residents should be on high alert for eccentric policemen, scandalous portraits of curvy ladies and over-the-top accents appearing in Havering in the next few weeks.
A stage adaption of much loved 1980s sitcom ‘Allo ‘Allo! will be running at the Brookside Theatre, Eastern Road, Romford in April.
It features all the beloved characters including cafe owner René and his wife Edith, Michelle of the Resistance, Leclerc Master of Disguise, Crabtree the British agent, waitresses Yvette and Mimi and Gestapo officer Herr Flick.
The play mainly takes place at Cafe René, in war-torn occupied France, where the hapless owner is living in fear of being shot by the following, in order - the Germans, the Gestapo, his wife and either of his mistresses.
He is trying desperately to not get involved in the madcap escapades of the French resistance, whilst conducting illicit affairs under the nose of his wife Edith.
She is oblivious, distracted by her own self-professed talent for singing, leading to René infamously once declaring that his wife “cannot carry a tune in a bucket.”
Outside of their messy personal lives, René and Edith have stashed a priceless portrait stolen by the Nazis in their cellar, which they have cleverly disguised by hiding it in a sausage.
Also in the cellar are two British airmen, Colonel Von Strohm and Lieutenant Gruber, who are in hiding until they can be returned to England by the Resistance.
In true Allo’ Allo’ style, Brookside theatre manager Jai Sepple, who is playing René, has gone viral after his wife Harri posted a photo of him besides the original René, TV actor Gorden Kaye.
Jai said: “I don’t think it looks that similar but I’m definitely in the minority!
“A couple of thousand of people have already seen it on Facebook, which my wife finds hilarious!”
In the TV show, attempts to repatriate the airmen prove difficult as the communications device is disguised as a cockatoo and hidden under the bed of René’s mother-in-law, Madame Fanny La Fan.
Iconic scenes such as this are hard to rehearse, as the cast can’t stop corpsing, said Jai.
He said: “It’s very hard. We can’t get through rehearsals without laughing.
“None of it makes any sense and attempting to keep a straight face when you’ve got your hands up a parrots unmentionables is pretty hard!”
The theatre has run several successful productions, including Avenue Q, The Addams Family and Bouncers, and Jai says the cast couldn’t resist the opportunity to bring back the classic sitcom, and have been practicing their dubious foreign accents and double entendres.
He said: “I think it’s a very good time to be performing this.
“It’s a classic and you always see repeats of it on the comedy channels, as people still love it.”
The theatre has been in touch with the original actors and actress Vicki Michelle, who played lovelorn waitress Yvette, who René is having an affair with, has sent a message of support to the cast, which appears in the programme.
Jai said: “We’re hoping some of the original cast will be watching the show at some point, which will be a bit surreal!
“Whoever attends the show, I’m certain they will be leaving with a smile on their face.”
In the words of Officer Crabtree... Good Moaning! Don’t lit this fanny shoe poss you by. Bick your tockets today!
Evening performances run from April 6 to 9th at 8pm and there is a matinee show at 2pm on Saturday April 9.
Tickets are available from the theatre’s website brooksidetheatre.com or call the box office on 01708 755775.