I WAS never a fan of the TV show, but SAMT's production of Hi-de-Hi is a fun packed delight and the company's decision to vary its repertoire is proving to be an inspired one.
The comedy timing is first class and there must be something seriously wrong with anyone who isn't swept along by the sheer enthusiasm of a cast determined to leave the audience well and truly entertained.
Even I, not a fan of audience participation, couldn't resist returning a "Ho-de-Ho" when the yellow coats shouted out the holiday camp's catchphrase. We're back in the 50s, when culinary sophistication was spaghetti Bolognese shaped. Not forgetting chips of course, to ensure guestskept at least one foot in their culinary comfort zone.
Stuart Sephton and Rachel Barrington are quite brilliant as the wimp of a holiday camp manager Jeffrey Fairbrother and thesultry queen of the PA, Gladys Pugh. Much fun is to be had as we watch Jeffrey, who turns to jelly whenever he has to make a decision or comes face to face with the female sex, tries to escape Gladys's clutches.
Paul Rendel and Emma Birch are very good value as the pompous ballroom dancers Barry and Yvonne Stuart-Hargreaves and I challenge you not to warm to the lovable Peggy, the clueless chalet cleaner who dreams of becoming a yellow coat. Rosalind Ford excels in therole.
This is a major triumph for director Billy Jellyman, who ensures us the cast give us a flavour of the TV originals while allowing them toput their own stamp on these much loved roles. Pack up your troubles and head off to Maplin's holiday camp, via Altrincham Little Theatre.
* Until April 9. Star rating - ****