"award winning theatre company"


Allo Allo - The Cast

René Artois: Stephen de Launey

Originally from Plymouth, Stephen first moved to Newcastle where he read Politics and Economics and has subsequently moved to various locations in the UK with work. He came to Shropshire in 1990 when his work with the Inland Revenue brought him from Wilmslow to Telford and has lived there ever since. Stephen now works for a large multi national IT company but is always keen to point out that he has a role in general business management with no technical IT involvement - so it’s no use hoping he can fix your computer. With a keen interest in politics starting at school, Stephen started down the path of becoming a candidate for Parliament in his early 20's but eventually chose a 'back seat' role preferring to be involved in party political organisation - though latterly he spent 7 years as a town councillor in Wellington.

Edith Artois: Fiona Hankin -

Fiona was born within the sound of St Chad’s bells in Quarry Place and, apart from eighteen months in Broughty Ferry near Dundee, lived in Shrewsbury until the age of 17. She studied librarianship and music at Aberystwyth University; however by the time she left she had become far too noisy to work in a library. Opting instead for a career in the rag trade, she worked in sales and marketing for several designer houses in London’s West End before moving north to a Marks & Spencer’s supplier just outside Manchester. Fiona returned to Shrewsbury to marry her husband Joe who she met at a fancy dress party wearing a kilt and polystyrene wings (as the ‘Flying Scotsman’) when he quite literally trod on her as he left the bar! Fiona has her own Marketing, Advertising & PR consultancy – THP Creative – which she started in 1991.

Fiona Hankin

 

Robert Hinton

Lieutenant Gruber: Robert Hinton

Robert was born in North Yorkshire and spent childhood summers barefoot, mostly in boats on the North Sea. He went to boarding schools in Northumberland and Cumbria, before going to university in Bristol, which was much more civilised and several degrees warmer.

Back in Yorkshire, Robert met Alex at a sailing regatta. Continuing the sporting theme, he proposed to her in a hospital in northern Italy, while she was being plastered after a skiing accident and lost his wedding ring while windsurfing on honeymoon.

These days Robert is the finance chief at Pork Farms Palethorpes in Market Drayton, where he and seven hundred colleagues have the honour of supplying all the major supermarkets with delicious pies and sausage rolls. Apart from acting, Robert’s main recreational activities are cycling Shropshire’s lanes and pruning enormous hedges.

 

Yvette Carte-Blanche: Rae Bromley

Rae grew up in Staffordshire before doing her Physiotherapy training at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. After qualifying, she worked for many years as a community Physio in Stoke-on-Trent before getting itchy feet and giving it all up to work as a SCUBA diver in the Red Sea. Further travel followed, with Rae spending a year living and working in New Zealand and Australia. In Australia she attained her dream job as a SCUBA dive master working on a dive boat on the Great Barrier Reef. When her work visa ran out Rae returned to the UK with plans to go to Africa as part of the Voluntary Services Overseas scheme. These plans were scuppered when she joined the Shrewsbury Amateur Operatic Society for ‘one show’ to fill in time between travels, and there met her husband Paul. Rae now works as a Physiotherapist in Shrewsbury specialising in Women’s Health and hopes to begin a Post Graduate Certificate in Continence in September. A keen motorcyclist, (‘the same adrenalin rush as SCUBA diving but without getting wet!’) she toured New Zealand last year for a month with husband Paul on the back giving directions. Rae also enjoys knitting and going to the gym – although not all at the same time!

Rae Bromley

 

Paul Bromley

Officer Crabtree: Paul Bromley

Paul is a true Salopian having been born within the loop of the River Severn in Shrewsbury. He left the county to train as a radio operator in the Merchant Navy before swapping life on the high seas for a spell in the Royal Air Force. After 4 years of RAF service Paul returned to Shropshire and became a Civil Servant where her stayed for the next 24 years. A slight mid life crisis prompted Paul to give up his desk job and he is currently training to be a driving instructor. He hopes to eventually specialise in teaching people with disabilities to drive. In the meantime Paul is getting some driving practice in by pushing beds around at the local hospital in his role as ‘hospital porter’ – he also gets to wear ‘theatre scrubs’ which make him feel like Dr Kildare……. Paul is happily married to Rae and has 2 teenage children to keep him on his toes. He shares the passion for travel with his wife and learnt to SCUBA dive a few years ago when Rae took him on holiday to visit her old work place in Egypt. Paul also enjoys golf and researching his family history – he is very proud that he can trace his Shropshire family back to 1600…..

 

Mimi Labonq: Sheena Davies

A Shrewsbury girl, Sheena attended the Wakeman School and Shrewsbury Sixth Form College where she took A levels in English Language, Drama and Sociology. Currently working at St.Giles Primary School as a Teaching Assistant, she is hoping to take a BA in Primary Education in the next academic year. Outside the day job Sheena can be found working as a steward at the Shrewsbury Music Hall and soon at the exciting new Theatre Severn. Her main hobby is, unsurprisingly, amateur dramatics – though she says she also enjoys splashing about in a swimming pool.

Sheena Davies

 

Carl Wellington

Herr Flick: Carl Wellington

A career in local government had left Carl with a desperate need for something to recoup his sanity - and he chose Am Dram! Since giving it a try some ten tears ago he’s done a number of musicals; the odd Panto; and found time to study part time at Birmingham School of Acting.

‘Allo,‘Allo is his first “straight” role on stage (other than in training) and he is honoured to be performing Herr Flick as a fully fledged Mad Cow!

 

Helga Geerhart: Beckiann Smith

Beckiann is currently an NQT at Meole Brace Secondary School, teaching Drama and Art, which she loves. In her spare time she also directs Shropshire Youth Theatre, teaching pupils from 5 to 21. She is getting married this summer and is currently saving hard for her dream wedding to her childhood sweetheart. After joining Mad Cow last year Beckiann thoroughly enjoyed her role as Brooke/Vicki in 'Noises Off'. She has a sneaky suspicion that she may be being typecast as she is again bearing flesh.

Beckiann Smith

 

Patrick Playfair

Colonel von Strohm: Patrick Playfair

Patrick is about to enter his fiftieth year on stage [the wig he wore in Noises Off did to the astute observer 'knock years off him!] From early performances with the National Youth Theatre, some semi professional stage and film work, he has enjoyed performing in classical drama, musical theatre and comic farce. Mad Cow has allowed him to rekindle his enthusiasm for high tempo ensemble work.

 

Michelle Dubois: Lisa Lowarch

Lisa is a Shrewsbury girl born and bred. Many of you may well know her parents from golf, or in her father’s case Pet’s Corner on Mardol. She is married to Peter, an Estate Agent in Shrewsbury. Having worked for Nat West, for a mail order company, and in the Music School at Shrewsbury School she is currently in children’s publishing working for Redan Publishing Ltd. She has the perfect job, playing with toys all day! She is a nightmare to all parents, however, as she buys the gifts that come with the magazines that end up making children scream in supermarkets.

Her love of dancing took her to Shrewsbury Amateur Operatic Society where she met Alex and many of the cast/crew members you will meet at Mad Cow Productions. She is having a ball with all aspects of Mad Cow Productions, which can encompass anything from making tea and sewing costumes to performing on stage.

Lisa Lowarch

 

Andrew Murray

Captain Bertorelli: Andrew Murray

Leaving school, Andrew took an apprenticeship at Rolls Royce, Shrewsbury, training as a skilled machinist involving study for mechanical engineering qualifications. This seems to have set a precedent, with study and training continuing to this day, in one form or another. Currently, as a Chartered Surveyor it is necessary to keep up to date with new construction materials and the ever-changing legislation, even to the extent of qualifying as a domestic electrician, several years ago. In his clandestine career as a semi professional singer, Shropshire’s singing surveyor is always studying. Andrew is very pleased to be associated with Mad Cow Productions and hopes you enjoy their shows, whilst supporting the charitable causes.

 

General von Klinkerhoffen: Ian Churms

Ian is a Shropshire Lad living near Westbury. He is married to his lovely wife Sam and they have three beautiful children; James, Emily and Matthew. He works for Shropshire Council’s IT Department, keeping the servers running smoothly.

Though currently semi-retired from performing whilst his family grows up, he was unfortunately persuaded to drop out of retirement for this production. Always fully committed to his stage craft, for this show he attempted to remove his leg with an axe whilst chopping down a tree in an effort to fully recreate General Schmelling’s limp. Luckily Alex and Lisa hadn't told him about the lost eye as well!

Ian Churms

 

Michael Eyre

Monsieur LeClerc: Michael Eyre

Originally from the East Midlands, Michael lived for nearly 20 years in London before coming to Shropshire. He retired several years ago. He has been performing on stage for about 55 years starting in school plays and has acted in groups that specialise in Elizabethan Drama and Shakespeare and in groups that only do modern farces. Having seen Noises Off Michael was delighted to be asked to join Mad Cow Productions and add yet another group to his list

 

British Airman 1: Steven Taylor

Steven spent the first 46 years of his life in Gracie Fields territory before leaving for Shropshire on educational missionary work in 2002. As well as a background in education, his formative years were spent playing the guitar in local folk clubs and bouncing a basketball up and down the country. His early literary interests in science fiction prepared him for the anorak wearing, data crunching aspects of his current role working with schools across the county. He was once described by a colleague as a “Renaissance Man” but as a northerner was unsure as to whether this was a complement or not.

Steven Taylor

 

Alex Whittles

British Airman 2: Alex Whittles

Another product of Shropshire, Alex grew up on his Dad’s arable farm in Upton Magna. He spent many a frivolous hour enjoying the Shrewsbury night life, before heading off to University in Sheffield. He then settled down to the more serious bits of life working his way up to being the UK software development director for a multi-national blue chip company. There he honed his knowledge of technical software, systems architecture, data collection and management. Indeed his experiences gave him a valuable insight into how much effective information can benefit an organisation and directly led to his creating his Business Intelligence Consultancy, Purple Frog Systems (www.PurpleFrogSystems.com)

Work aside he is married to his lovely wife Hollie, with only one other dependent, their equally lovely black cat, Ronnie!

 

French Peasant Man: Allan King

Allan cut his teeth in entertainment as a professional ice skater with Norman Wisdom at the Empress Hall, London in the mid 50's. After National Service, Allan married Jill and, following years of New Town business, escaped for 23 years to West Cornwall. There they bought a semi-derelict 17th Century Water Mill and Allan restored its water wheel single handed. He also became Cornwall's most famous unpublished writer and bought and sold eight delightful houses, two shops and a hotel in Mousehole. This was taken over by a TV crew for a feature film about Stanhope Forbes with Nanette Newman and Michael Culver.

Allan has appeared in various TV productions like Poldark, usually as a drunken bearded sailor/yokel/dancing gent, and also as one of Larry Olivier's Thesiun soldiers in Clash of the Titans (a Hollywood blockbuster). He did all sorts of other jobs including running the National Trust's shop on St Michael's Mount and starting up the Trinity House National Lighthouse Centre as curator and commercial manager. Having returned to Shrewsbury he became a steward at The Music Hall and joined S.A.O.S as an acting member where he made many friends including some of the current stars of Mad Cow’s Allo Allo.

Allan King

 

Jill King

French Peasant Lady: Jill King

Jill attended Shrewsbury High School, going on to qualify as a nurse and radiographer at Guy's Hospital in London. She married Allan and produced three children moving to Cornwall for 23 years to help Allan with various madcap business ventures. On their return to Shropshire she became a steward at The Music Hall for 6 years. Jill’s only thespian ventures have been as an Ugly Sister in the hospital pantomime and one of Florence Nightingale’s Angels in a historic bonanza at The Royal Festival Hall London directed by Ralph Reader in 1953.

 

Germiner: Laura Travatt

A Pontesbury girl Laura spent most of her formative years on horseback, schooling show ponies to a high standard. Her achievements with them included qualifying for, and appearing at, the famous Horse of the Year Show. Laura attended the Mary Webb School before going on to Shrewsbury Sixth Form College to take three A Levels in Combined English, Performance Studies, and Media Studies. While at sixth form Laura decided that she wanted a more hands-on career and is currently studying Hair and Beauty at Radbrook College. In the near future she hopes to gain employment with a cruise line for more experience, before (fingers crossed) setting up her own business. Post ponies Laura’s hobbies include tap dancing lessons with Centre Point, and of course Am Dram. Indeed, aged eight as part of the Pontesbury Players who were taking part in The Shropshire Drama League’s Competition she was awarded an acting prize for her outstanding portrayal of… a dustbin!

Laura Travatt

 

John Moore

Cafe René Pianist: John Moore

John Moore read music at the University of East Anglia and The Royal Academy of Music. He studied with Sidney Harrison and Alexander Kelly for piano as well as Professor Peter Aston with whom he studied conducting. At the Academy John studied as a repetiteur and accompanist. John has combined his professional and teaching life over the last twenty years or so in a busy round of conducting, performing and composing in many musical genres. John has also written a considerable amount of music for BBC1 & Channel 4 children's programmes, as well as composing six youth musicals for Shrewsbury School, where he has been Director of Music since 1989. Several of the T.V. programmes have won awards at the New York T.V. & Film Festival.

Of his musicals, "Jekyll!" won a Fringe First at the Edinburgh Festival in 1995 and "The Lost Domain" and “The Bubble”were performed at the Linbury Studio Theatre at Covent Garden "The Time Machine" was premiered at the Edinburgh Festival in 1997. His musical, "The Bubble", written with authors Julian Roach and Peter Hankin, was premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, receiving excellent notices. It is being presented there again once more this summer. "Frankenstein" was also performed in Edinburgh and at the Royal College of Music. John's most recent musical is "Harry" which too has received excellent reviews.

John is currently Director of Music at Shrewsbury School where he regularly conducts a large choral society of 150 voices in concerts of major choral works. He is Chairman of the Shrewsbury Summer Season Steering Group, and guest conductor with the Eighteenth Century Concert Orchestra and Chorus. He is also Musical Director of Opera Severn and conducts the Shrewsbury Symphony Orchestra. For several years, John was also a founder member of Three Men in a Bow Tie, and has recently written the music for two plays penned by fellow Bow Tie artiste, Martin Jones, as well as having created two seasonal entertainments for chorus, narrator and orchestra with Chris Eldon-Lee, also of the Bow Ties.