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September 1st, 2017.

Meeching Amateur Dramatics production of Hi-De-Hi! at Newhaven Fort, 24-26 August 2017. Review by Richard Honeyman

Meeching Amateur Dramatics (MAD) returned to the Fort, after a three year break, their last production being 'The Better ‘Ole', marking the 100 year anniversary of the start of the WW1. Move on 45 years or so into the late 1950s and the delightful comedy ‘Hi-De-Hi’ adapted for the stage by Paul Carpenter and Ian Gower, based on the TV series by Jimmy Perry and David Croft. Centred at the fictitious Maplins Holiday Camp, Crimpton-on-Sea.

Its host of colourful characters are all there - Donna Beard was excellent, especially her great welsh accent, playing the all-round Yellow Coat, Gladys Pugh, looking and sounding like Ruth Madoc. I loved the Radio Maplin scenes. Was anything going on between her and the Entertainment Manager Jeffery Fairbrother (Peter Barnes)? This we tried to find out and were none the wiser really, after two hours of innuendo and a little bit of drunkenness. Of course others wanted her Gladys crown, including Sylvia Garnsey (Clare Forshaw) and Tracey Bentwood (Sue Sanders). On the male side, Stave Darvill, shone in the Paul Shane role as the Camp Host Ted Bovis, and I also liked Kiernan Beal – ‘camp comic 'binman’, Spike Dixon. The other cast members were all worthy of a mention but too exhaustive to mention here.

The sets were excellent - the shelf in the office ingeniously doubling up as a bed was good - The show was directed by Tony Gibbs. So with its distinctive catch-phrase still ringing in my ears, 'Hi-De- Hi! HoDe-Ho!

Overall an enjoyable comedy, performed excellently by MAD in a terrific venue.