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Berets, striped T-shirts adorned with strings of garlic, red scarves and men wearing dodgy-looking moustaches? It must be the Market Weighton Community Players’ production of ‘Allo ‘Allo then. Following on from the success of last year’s ‘An Evening at the Café Rene’, the players decided to present Samuel French’s production in its entirety this year. The Market Weighton Social Club had been transformed into a buzzing Café Rene with the audience sitting at tables bedecked with red and white checked tablecloths, making it up-close and personal with the cast. There were three performances on 23rd, 24th and 25th October 2014.
The packed audience’s lively chatter of expectation was sharply quietened by the hammer blows wielded by a German officer with instructions to ‘Let the entertainment commence’. Rene, opens his café and the action very quickly begins. The plot centres around the priceless painting of ‘The Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies’ which has been hidden inside a Knockwurst sausage. An inevitable series of hilarious mishaps conspire to add to the confusion and hilarity of the play through the apparent demise of the painting. The performance contains elements of slapstick and Keystone Cop-type sequences to add to the action.
The first act, which flew by, lasted an astonishing 1 hour and 10 minutes – throughout the characters maintained their accents and energy to project the comedy. Scene changes were discretely carried out by the peasants, accompanied by an accomplished accordion player to smooth the transition. The second scene culminated in the café being filled with seemingly every other character being a Hitler look-alike with a view to getting his hands on the painting.
It’s hard to single any one player out for special note, everyone performed brilliantly, supported by quick scene changes and back-room staff with costume changes and make-up. What’s important to remember is that everyone who contributes to the performance is a volunteer and that the final event on stage is a result of many months of planning, rehearsal, begging and borrowing. Everyone has clearly enjoyed their involvement in the production, the final performance was clearly ad-libbed in many places much to the surprise of some cast members – it all looked great fun on stage.
The Director was John Heaton and Producer Helen Lawley both of whom are local and well known for both their acting and production capability.
Saturday evening finalised with a presentation to the outgoing chair, Jayne Thomas. Her contribution to the Players over the last 14 years which has revitalised the group was acknowledged with great appreciation. A plea for new members to undertake any of the vital roles in getting a fantastic production such as this onto the stage was made. A quick glance at the programme gives an eye-opening insight into the number of people from across the community needed to get a production onto the stage.
With roots stretching back almost to World War 11, The Market Weighton Community Players was formed to encourage and support the development of performing arts in the community of Market Weighton and the surrounding villages. Membership is open to all and there is a variety of activities throughout the year.
The next production is a Pantomime – “Dick Whittington” to be performed at The Market Weighton School on March 5th, 6th and 7th 2015. Casting and Rehearsals are about to start. Following that ‘The Players’ hope to obtain permission to perform an episode of “Dads Army” to coincide with the anniversary of VE day in May 2015.
Other activities planned by this lively local group include radio plays broadcast on Vixen101fm and street theatre in Market Weighton.
Anyone who is interested in becoming involved either on stage or in any other capacity should contact The Players through their website www.marketweightoncommunityplayers.co.uk or by telephone to the Chair, Peter Warner telephone: 01430 861195.
FULL CAST LIST ‘ALLO ‘ALLO OCTOBER 2014
|British Airman||Bill Langhammer, Jeff Stephenson|
|Colonel Von Stohm||Nigel Botting|
|Captain Bertorelli||Phil Pickard|
|German Soldiers||Andrew Franklin Barber; Len Kirby|
|Herr Flick||David Charlton|
|Peasants||Bob Long; John Moulder, Michael Smith|
|Officer Crabtree||Les Curnow|
|Lieutenant Gruber||John Heaton|
|Cabaret Girls||Gill Botting; Sue Long; Val Moulder; Shannon Smith|
|General Von Schmelling||Richard Henley|
|Resistance Girls||Angela Leeman; Barbara Singh; Cindy Stephenson|
|Stage Manager||Angela Leeman|
|Lighting & Sound||Brenda Cullen; Jacob Purcell; John Moulder; Tracey Purcell|
|Set||Len Kirby; Jeff Stephenson; John Moulder; Peter Warner|
|Costumes & Makeup||Barbara Singh and Georgia Malpas|
|Radio & Cinema Voiceovers||Jeff Stephenson|
|Front of House & Publicity||Val Moulder; Sue Long; Gill Botting|
|Tickets & Posters||Jayne Thomas|