Director - Bridget Calvert                      assisted by Netty Batchelor

I was very pleased to be invited to review Square Drama Circle, and enjoyed their production of Hi-De-Hi.


Inevitably comparisons will be drawn by an audience that remembers the original as they were such iconic characters, but the cast got the essence of the characters, without doing a direct take-off.


The set, although a little unstable at times with unreliable doors, was very well thought-out – it coped well with the requirements for a total of 4 rooms.  It was cleverly done, and I liked the use of the floor of the Hall for the bar and communications room – as it meant that the scene changes were accomplished quickly whilst the action continued.


The props were mostly good, and everything worked well.  I would have liked to have seen a little more set dressing, as it looked quite bland, and whilst it might have taken a little longer on the scene changes it would have enhanced the feel of the rooms.


I was pleased to be able to hear every word, projection was good throughout.

Alex Brewer was undoubtedly the glue that held the whole together, he created a very good character as Jeffrey Fairbrother.  I loved the bedroom scenes, the facial expressions and nuances brought the character alive.


Sophie Rickman as Gladys the lovely Welsh Chief Yellowcoat, gave us a very believable portrayal, not too OTT, although there were a couple of times when I wanted a bit more emphasis.  However that said Sophie played the part well.


Victoria Goode made a very lively Peggy, I understand this was her first main part – and I thought she did a good job.  There were lots of moves and costume adjustments, but the lib never faltered – an achievement in itself.  I also appreciated the way she kept things going while the ballot papers were being handed out.


Rosemary Brown and Pete Soper were the suitably snooty ballroom dancing couple Yvonne and Barry Stewart-Hargreaves – sniping continually at each other, with Yvonne's pretensions and snobbery well to the fore.


Mike Ramsdale as Ted Bovis the camp comic needed a bit more punch in his delivery, I felt he was little bit too soft.  I knew a lot of camp comics in the old days, and they were all very ebullient, rude and underhand!!  So I needed to see a bit more of that as a contrast to the other characters.


Lee Sussams played Fred Quilly well – only caring about his horses.  I was a little perturbed at his low slung jodhpurs, they looked good, but I was waiting for them to descend!!


Costumes were very good, nice and colourful, and fitted well.  The yellow jackets were extremely colourful, and Ted’s suit was just the job.  Everything fitted in well and contrasted to Jeffrey’s sober suit.


There were some nice performances from the Yellowcoats - Belinda Gharibian, Sabine Jackson, Donna Fletcher, Josh Brewer and Chris Fletcher – who all looked the part and tried to keep the action flowing, a little difficult occasionally in the crowded staffroom, but well done for keeping it all going.


Jean Smy created a very nice character as Hilary Bovis, I could see her cracking the whip and getting Ted to do what she wanted.


Rob Tabone Jnr was a suitably dour bailiff, and I understand he also fulfilled the role of Stage Manager.


The final cast member, again in his first show, was Marat Hakimov as Mr Pritchard a supposed policeman who was able to give his evidence very well – and showed his love for Gladys with a bottle of champagne.

Many thanks to the Society for their hospitality, it was a very nice evening’s entertainment, with plenty of laughs and some good performances.  We hope to see you all again next year!


Reviewed by Nova Horley - 20th October 2012

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