Between Monday 12th and Saturday 17th March Louth Playgoers, at The Riverhead Theatre went back to the 1980’s, the height of TV sit-coms, not that I can remember (much!). Hi-De-Hi was one of those shows where you got to know and love the characters, so it was with great delight that all of those wonderful stars were brought back to life by Louth Playgoers, and took us back to a time of fun and frolics on the stage.
The show was based on the popular TV series by Jimmy Perry and David Croft and won a BAFTA as best comedy series in 1984. For those too young to remember, and didn’t get chance to see the show at Louth, it was based around the lives of the entertainers at a fictional holiday camp, Maplins, in the late 1950’s, early 1960’s; The ‘Yellow Coats’ were a group of either struggling wannabe actors, or washed up has-beens.
From the moment the cast appeared on stage, I had great fun putting the new faces to the well known names. One of the lead roles, the infamous Gladys Pugh was played by Teresa Appleton who mastered her Welsh accent beautifully; forever playing up to the boss, Jeffrey Fairbrother, brilliantly played by Andy De Renzi.
A highlight for me had to be the Sand dance, a hilariously set dance piece by Pamela Whalley and Graham Turner, who played the couple, Yvonne and Barry Stuart Hargreaves; Their onscreen chemistry worked a treat, a great piece of casting and even when they were joined by Ted Bovis, played by Ray Baker, in a costume not leaving much to the imagination. Ray delighted the audience with his garish suit and larger than life character.
The audience would never have realised that the role of Peggy Ollerenshaw, originally played by Su Pollard in the TV series, only stepped into the role at short notice when the original actress fell ill. She did a great job, and obviously threw herself into the ditzy role of Peggy with great vigour, bringing to life that wonderful character on to the stage. It was great to see that Su Pollard visited Louth a few days before the production to visit the Theatre, and NT Shaw of Louth, the Proud Sponsors of Louth Playgoers Hi-De-Hi, and had some photos taken with the cast.
The whole show was great fun, and all the cast worked together to keep the audience entertained throughout. The set was very well put together, it looked great, and I loved the clever use of the doors and overall staging. Thanks and well done to those responsible for costumes, plus the backstage crew and lighting and sound. Director Sue Soper and Producer, John Hallam – a great job; it was a brilliant night out that kept the audience laughing from start to finish.