Review Hi-De-Hi, Everyman Theatre, Cardiff by Rhys Payne

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Hi-de-Hi, performed in Sophia Gardens at Cardiff Open-Air festival, was a stage adaptation of the classic TV show of the same name the production was performed by an extremely talented cast who performed a near-perfect tribute to the show. Most of the cast members had an uncanny resemblance to the original cast, especially Gladys Pugh (played by Sarah Green) who nailed every nuance and mannerisms of the character who was originally played Ruth Madoc including the distinctive voice. I have seen Sarah in many productions and each role is an almost stark contrast to the last who only goes to show the pure skill and talent that Sarah posses. My aunt, who also attend the show, was in such awe of the impersonation that she thought they had somehow managed to get Ruth Madoc to reprise her role.

Another standout performance in this show was Victoria Walters who played Peggy Ollerenshaw who managed to balance the comic and clumsy nature of Peggy with the serious/passionate side of the character while also creating vast amounts of pity from the audience.

The whole production ends with Peggy delivering a heartfelt and emotion realisation with the audience which tugged on every single person’s heartstrings. Pam Wiener and Richard Thomas performed perfectly as the constantly arguing couple of Yvonne and Barry Stuart-Hargreaves.

Both actors performed almost caricatures of the uptight couple constantly and stayed in character even during audience participation segments.

Phil Bond and Chris Kendrick took on the roles of Ted Bovis and Spike Dixon, who are both considered the comic characters in this camp, and both created many comical moments which had the audience laughing. Toby Harris, who was cast as Jeffrey Fairbrother fitted the role perfectly. The costume and acting blended together to create a person who looked genuinely out of place in the camp and uncomfortable with what is going on which is the entire premise of this production.

Something that I had never seen before is the inclusion of the yellow coats. These were the entertainers in the camp, similar to a Pontins Bluecoat, who within the realm of the summer camp were there to aid in the running of day to day activities. Within the production itself, these people were helping moving set between scenes and stewarding at the beginning and after the interval of the show. This felt like a fourth-wall break which was cleverly done to blend the outside, real world with the theatre world.

This beautiful production tread the line between a traditional show and an experience. As if you were immersing yourself in the world that these actors were producing. This was added to by the fact that it was performed in an open-air theatre. As there are no boundaries and enclosures in the open-air, this production felt as if it was permeating the real-world. On top of this, there was a lot of audience interaction and games carried out by members of the audience. I was, in fact, chosen to play one of the games, which involved pouring ‘spaghetti’ into a comically large pair of trousers. While I was doing this not one single actor broke character on the stage (which should not go unnoticed and only goes to show the professionalism of the cast.) The whole premise of this show was almost ‘come and join us in a one-day summer holiday camp’ which worked perfectly and was very enjoyable to participate in.

In conclusion, this production was fun-filled and enjoyable while providing a unique theatre experience. I did, however, feel as if I may have missed some of the nostalgia of the production and people of a similar age may also found this but I was still able to enjoy the show and get involved. My only issue with the show (which isn’t particularly an issue with the performers themselves) but there was a metal beam that prevented me from seeing some of the actors during certain points in the show. I would rate this production 5 out of 5 stars and would encourage people to catch this production before it is over.

PS if you are under 25 and purchase tickets on the door to any of the Everyman productions (including Hi-de-Hi) between Monday to Thursday you receive a special discount so tickets are only £8.

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