St Albans’ Company of Ten staging ’Allo ’Allo

09:56 27 June 2014

'Allo 'Allo

Archant

The Company of Ten will say zis only once – they are bringing the hugely-successful television sitcome ’Allo ’Allo to the Abbey Theatre stage next week.

Like the hit TV show – which ran in Britain from 1982 to 1992 – the stage production follows the misadventures of Parisian café-owner René Artois as he attempts to juggle the demands of his wife, two mistresses, the occupying German forces, two British airmen and the French Resistance without being killed.

The best-loved characters, gags and catchphrases from the TV version are all present and correct, from the Englishman-disguised-as-a-gendarme Crabtree with his famous greeting, “Good Moaning”, to Resistance leader Michelle’s, “Leesen very carefully, I shall say zis only once.”

And no interpretation of the show would be complete without reference to the German commandant Colonel Von Strohm’s ongoing efforts to get his hands on that local masterpiece: The Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies.

But director Nick Tarrant admits there will be some key differences between the TV show and the Company of Ten production. “As a stage text, ’Allo ’Allo presents some interesting challenges. For a start, the characters will be well known to many of the audience but of course the faces and voices on our stage won’t be the same.

“Jokes that work in camera close-up need very different delivery in live theatre, and a storyline that sustains a half-hour episode within a series has to be significantly adapted for a standalone piece three times as long. Every stage presentation is unique and this production will certainly be that – we just trust the audience will sit back and enjoy the ride.”

Performances take place on the Abbey Theatre Main Stage at 8pm from next Thursday, July 3, to Saturday, July 5, at 2.30pm on Sunday, July 6, and again at 8pm from Wednesday, July 9, to Saturday, July 12. To book tickets go to www.abbeytheatre.org.uk or call the box office on 01727 857861.

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