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I was never a fan of “Allo Allo” on television, but my husband loved and it and we used to watch it with the children, so when we saw there was a stage production at the Tacchi Morris Arts Centre in Taunton he was keen to go.
The @2K Theatre Company are a newly formed amateur theatre company. We had seen the actress who played Edith in many Taunton Thespian productions, and similarly recognised some of the other actors. Many of the cast were however new to us, faces and voices we did not recognise from our many years of seeing amateur productions in the Taunton area.
They had clearly studied recorded episodes of the TV series. Each character was minutely copied. The actor who played Rene was nothing short of brilliant: his accent was just right, he had perfect timing, didn’t forget a single word and held the whole production together seamlessly. The actress who played Yvette was amazing: the hair, the voice, the stance, the walk, it could have been Vicki Michelle herself.
Others that stood out were Herr Flick, whose solo tango brought the house down, and Helga whose voice and comic timing were excellent. Indeed it’s hard to pick out a weak link. Gruber was rather quietly spoken and we strained to hear some of his words, but he had the correct intonation and his facial expressions were excellent.
It was a brilliant set, though it’s such a shame that the Tacchi Morris Arts Centre has no stage or curtains to make it more of a theatre. We so miss the expectant hush of the audience in the old-fashioned theatres as the curtains opened and the set was visible for the first time.
The play itself seemed long and repetitive, two hours being a long time to hold the attention in comparison with a half hour TV episode. The second half in particular appeared to drag and the plot became so convoluted as to be impossible to follow. The ending was particularly muddled. We even wondered if someone had forgotten their lines and the other actors were ad-libbing to fill in.
So, despite the fact that it wasn’t a play I would have chosen to see, I did enjoy it. We certainly talked about it a lot on the way home in the car, always a sign, I feel, of a good play, and I’m impressed as always, by the enthusiasm, commitment and acting skills shown by our local amateurs, all of whom are doing ordinary jobs during the day.
Bethany Askew is the author of eight novels:
The Time Before, The World Within, Out of Step, Counting the Days, Poppy’s Seed, Three Extraordinary Years,The Two Saras and I know you, Don’t I?
She has also written a short story, The Night of the Storm, and she writes poetry.
Two more women’s fiction books have been accepted for publication in 2020 and 2021 respectively and she is currently working on a new novel.
In her spare time she enjoys reading, music, theatre, walking, Pilates, dancing and voluntary work.
Bethany is married and lives in Somerset.