Theatre at Baddow
A healthy queue outside the Parish Hall for a wallow in the Carry-On nostalgia that is 'Allo 'Allo, a sitcom shoe-horned onto the stage by authors Lloyd and Croft.
The audience knew what to expect, of course, and Sheila Talbot and her hard-working cast duly served it up. Suggestive sausages, a Gestapo suspender belt, an inflatable Hitler, not to mention the famous Fallen Madonna.
Alan Ireland was a likeable René, though a little nervous at first, and Paul Saddington made a magnificent Edith. Boot Banes looked every inch the Colonel, and gave a very plausible performance, whereas Jeremy Pruce, as the vowel-mangling Crabtree, never really seemed in touch with the humour.
Campaign medals to Roger Saddington as the stock Italian, and Caroline Wright as a suitably ice-cold Helga. Kenton Church made the most of Flick, and Vicky Wright and Jean Speller were the café crumpet.
Sixteen scenes and an interval in two hours – that's the sitcom showing through – but the musical links held it together, and the set was well used. But you really need to milk this material for all it's worth, and we were aware that there were laughs going begging. Chuckles of recognition where we should have been rolling in the aisles ...