PUBLISHED: 15:19 20 May 2011
Hi-de-Hi! at Bromley Little Theatre (BLT) is based on the TV series by Jimmy Perry and David Croft, adapted here by Paul Carpenter and Ian Gower, this is an evening of 1950s holiday camp nostalgia that’s as warm and cosy as a pair of old slippers.
Paul Campion directs, and has done an excellent job making many scenes fit onto the BLT’s small performance space. A revolving stage houses four sets, while scenery changes are covered by variety acts. A gloriously silly Sand Dance routine and camp comic Ted Bovis (Patrick Brown) are highlights.
Abi Topley, as Welsh siren Gladys Pugh, is perhaps closest to her TV counterpart, the inimitable Ruth Madoc. Wide-eyed and pouting, she captures the lovelorn Gladys perfectly. The object of her affection, Jeffrey Fairbrother, is played by Dominic Howell, who replaces stuttering anxiety (a la Simon Cadell) with an inappropriately casual insouciance.
Bob Etherington as the child-hating Punch and Judy Man, Mr Partridge, gives a carefully studied performance, as does Martin Bunyan as comic newbie Spike (although the Brummie accent is a bit strong).
Patrick Brown initially disappoints as a tall, gangling Ted Bovis, but when it emerges how brilliant he is with the audience, any reservations are swiftly dismissed. Martin Dale and Sue Clarke are much too young to play ballroom dancers Barry and Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves, although Dale is wonderfully arch.
Emma Berryman’s Peggy is the least like her TV counterpart, the memorable Su Pollard, but it’s a fun, bouncy performance.
But if you fancy experiencing a 1950s holiday camp, where Yellowcoats guide you to your ‘chalet’, then Bromley Little Theatre is the place to be. It’ll certainly put a smile on your face.
Its next production is Love on the Dole by Ronald Gow and Walter Greenwood, from June 10-18. Tickets: 07917 853621.
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