Singing out of tune goes against the grain for professional vocalists… but former nightclub singer Dot Clarke is up for the challenge.
Her latest role as a long-suffering wife in the stage version of ’Allo ’Allo requires her to sing flat.
“It is surprisingly easy,” she said. “I hear the notes and I am just pitching underneath them. The hardest part is not laughing.”
Her out-of-tune caterwauling is hard on fellow actors for whom the script demands they stuff cheese into their ears. “Obviously they can’t use real cheese so they’ll be using foam,” said Dot, who lives in Glapwell.
Sounds like classic ’Allo ’Allo farce and fans of the TV sitcom won’t be disappointed by the stage show, which incorporates Carry On-style humour and well-loved catchphrases.
“It is hilarious,” said Dot. “We can’t stop laughing in rehearsals because it is full of innuendos.”
She plays cafe owner Rene’s wife Edith in a partnership which sees Dot and opposite number Richard Leivers also directing the show.
Richard is putting on Rene’s pinny for the second time, having played the role for Hasland Theatre Company in a production which drew capacity audiences.
“I just love ’Allo ’Allo,” he said. “I can always remember watching the first pilot when it came on the telly. I thought it was brilliant.
“Our production has got the best bits of the TV series and a few little bits in it which would have been too risqué for television in those days.”
Engineer Richard, 57, of Wingerworth, has grown a moustache for the role but stresses that it won’t be a permanent feature. “Last time I played Rene, it came off straight away the following day,” he said.
l ’Allo ’Allo will be staged at the Pomegranate Theatre from Monday, June 16, until Wednesday, June 18. at 7.15pm. Tickets cost £10 and £8 (concessions). To book, call 01246 345222 or www.chesterfieldvenues.co.uk.