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Allo Allo Performances a Great Success

Well now the dust has settled we are glad to say that we can look back on another successful show. Our newspaper reviewer Gordon Riley described us as “a tonic”, and if laughter is the best medicine it was being handed out left right and centre!

MCP was delighted that in these gloomy economic times our box office numbers continued to increase. Many, many thanks to all those people who now support us, please continue to spread the word about what we do. If you enjoyed our show bring a friend next time!

We were delighted with the positive audience reaction and would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who was involved; we are very proud of our “herd”, it truly is the entire team’s success.

So many things went into creating what you, our audience, enjoyed. It’s a little like building a tower, with each successive layer contributing to a better product. The foundation layer has to be the set, which was specially designed for the Ashton Theatre. We were so lucky to find such super premises in which to bring the designs to life. The many weekends spent building and painting it resulted in a series of atmospheric visual pictures. From the warm cosy French feel of the Café Rene (oh what a bar), to the opulence of Colonel’s office in the châteaux, to the cold austerity of Herr Flick’s quarters, each scene was simply but so effectively represented – a perfect complement to the action being portrayed. Each “picture” was created quietly and quickly by our super crew who moved the flats and furniture deftly about the dark stage, coping so well with the numerous scene changes the play demanded.

The next layer has to be the props of which there were many! Each detail was carefully researched, from the large items, such as the Colonel’s ornate French desk (the stage crew would vouch for its weight!) and the antique working till on Rene’s bar (brought all the way from Manchester), to the small; the labels on the batteries (tied so memorably to Michele of the Resistance’s thigh) and the Colonel’s hair dye bottle which were written in perfect French and German. These all added to the visual impact.

With these two layers in place the final polish to the staging came from the abilities of the Lighting and Sound Designers. Apart from the obvious fact that without lights no one could be seen, the lighting design supported and enhanced the mood of each scene by its use of colour and focus. A lot of lighting effects are not consciously noted by an audience, but to give you some idea ‘Allo, ‘Allo had around 100 lighting changes. The Sound Design too supported and enhanced the action, from the comedic upstairs banging of Edith’s mother or the raspberries blown by Hitler’s dummy to the appropriate music for the scene changes, they all helped to add extra dimensions to the performance.

The final layer has to be the actors themselves. Their months of hard work in and out of rehearsal certainly paid off. So many people commented on how good they all were, one chap said that their portrayals were so accurate it was “just like watching 3d TV” – what a complement to their dedication! And didn’t their costumes and wigs look good? The uniforms travelled up from Torbay from a specialist film and television costumier and certainly contributed an authentic feel to the play. It is always fascinating to see how you, the audiences, differ. Though laughs were always plentiful, it is surprising how each night a particular line can receive anything from a titter here and there to an entire theatre guffawing with delight. It certainly kept the actors on their toes!

Apart from the play itself there is also a tower of administration; the set materials have to be sourced, ordered and paid for, posters, programmes and banners designed written and printed, newspaper and magazine publicity sought, a box office run – the list goes on and on….. Suffice to say “Thank You” to everyone!

So farewell ‘Allo, ‘Allo, I hope we have given you some insight into what made it the success it was, and here’s to Side By Side By Sondheim; we hope to see you there!