© 2009 Jeffrey Holland Contact Me

Allo Allo

There is no doubt Jeff’s career has largely been forged from the Golden Age of Comedy. From the early eighties he has starred in all the major collaborations of David Croft, Jimmy Perry and Jeremy Lloyd. All that is, with until now, the exception of  Allo Allo. In August 2008 that changed when Jeff assumed the mantle of none other than Rene Artois for the 25th Anniversary UK stage tour of this much loved and hugely successful show. The offer of the role came out of the blue last Christmas while Jeff was appearing in pantomime. He recalls sitting in his dressing room between performances when his mobile rang and although his immediate reaction was to accept, he does admit that in the weeks that followed, there were days when he couldn’t believe it was all going to become a reality. But become a reality it did when the show opened on the 29th August at the Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage to a packed house, howls of laughter and thunderous applause.

Jeff makes no secret of the fact that he felt more than just a few first night nerves. ‘Gorden Kaye is quite a hard act to follow particularly as he was the original Rene’, he explains. ‘I’m also very glad that I wasn’t aware Jeremy Lloyd, David Croft and Jimmy Perry were all present in the audience until afterwards or I think my knees would have gone’, he laughs. Joining Jeff in the cast and falling effortlessly into the role of Michelle of the Resistance is wife Judy Buxton. Despite knowing the casting director from previous work, there was no room for sentiment. ‘It was quite a surprise when I was asked to audition for the role’, said Judy. ‘I mean in a way it was linked to Jeff as they knew we were married but I still had to prove myself. I felt confident I could play the role but it has been a challenge to make it my own and I’m absolutely loving it’. As saucy waitress Yvette, Vicki Michelle is the only remaining original cast member to reprise her role. Said Jeff ‘Not only is it a great help to have her in the cast from a production point of view but also it’s wonderful to be able to work with her again. The last time was in pantomime’. They are ably aided and abetted by a highly talented group of actors whom it has to be said, bear an uncanny likeness to their predecessors. There is no doubt they prove a winning team so it is perhaps no surprise that with theatres selling out and rave reviews in it’s initial run, the show is to take to the road for a further major tour in the spring of 2009.  

So to what do Jeff and Judy attribute the shows continued resounding success? ‘The show fills theatres and makes people laugh – what more can you ask’?  That says it all.

© Robert Workman