By Ray Bennett
On any given weekend, enthusiastic players from more than 2,500 amateur theatre companies around Britain get together to put on a show and last weekend, I went down to Hampshire by the New Forest to see the Ringwood Musical and Dramatic Society production of “‘Allo, ‘Allo.”
It’s a perennial wartime farce written by Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft based on their popular 1982 television sitcom, which is still in reruns on the BBC.
I was there because my brother Richard Bennett was starring as René, the long-suffering owner of a small café in France during World War Two. Rich is gifted with a fine stage presence and great comic timing but he wasn’t alone in making the show hugely entertaining.
Veterans Poppy Garvey and Peter Ansell and younger performers such as Andy Steeds and Julie Lax shone among the fine cast under the polished direction of Sheryle Daniels. The set itself received applause because it was such a perfect replica of the TV show.
It’s fun to be reminded of how much talent is to be found far from the commercial theatrical rat race and how enjoyable it is to be among theatergoers who, like the performers, simply want to have a good time.
Next up for the Ringwood players is their annual Christmas show, “A Ceremony of Carols” and an April production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Follies.” Here’s more about the RMDS and the national amdram association NODA