Allo Allo

allo ‘allo: Lighthouse, Poole

Much loved 1980s sit-com ‘Allo ‘Allo lives again in this romp-a-long stage show which revisits one of the most popular Tv comedies of the late 20th century.

It delivers exactly what the audience want - an instantly recognisable evening of catchphrase-laden knockabout laughter in the company of characters they regard as old friends. 

Subtle as a flying baguette, the story penned by original screenwriters David Croft and Jeremy Lloyd is nonetheless perfect. It finds hapless French cafe owner René Artois struggling to stay alive in German occupied World War II France. 

 The fact that he is harbouring two British airmen in the cellar and has a priceless piece of Nazi-plundered art secreted within a giant sausage in his larder is not helpful to his life-expectancy.  Meanwhile he’s juggling affairs with his waitresses while dodging both his battle-axe wife and the Gestapo firing squad. 

For fans of the late lamented TV show  it’s comfortingly familiar stuff, wonderfully unreconstructed and stashed with more double entendres than a shop full of seaside postcards. 

This production finds René played by the ever-excellent Jeffrey Holland, a parade of characters straight off the telly and even original cast member Vicki Michelle reprising her role as saucy waitress Yvette. 

The cavalcade of kinky SS men, raunchy bar girls, crazed resistance fighters and of course the undercover gendarme with the mangled vowels is both funny and fun. However this is a show aimed squarely at the cognoscenti.  I can’t help feeling that anyone unfamiliar with the TV programme (and there must be increasing numbers)  would spend rather too much time wondering what on earth was going on.

‘allo ‘allo plays Lighthouse in Poole until Saturday May 2.

Jeremy Miles

© Jeremy Miles 2022