Wednesday 13th October 2021 – 7.30pm
Written by Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft
Directed by Jemma Brown
Run dates: 14 – 19 February 2022
Rehearsals: Wednesdays. Starting 17 November.
All that’s needed for this production is real and true comic timing. We want the audience to be rolling in the aisles! So if you know you have that, are a strong performer and can keep a straight face, come on the 13th! We will have an absolute blast doing this all I ask is that you get lines down early so we can focus on the physical theatre element quickly.
If you’re viewing this online, you can click on the links to the audition pieces here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/6bygseoped8ieox/AAArvCzuKMPuaNqDEeTdwfIYa?dl=0 and download, if not, drop me an email and I’ll email you the audition piece directly.
RENÉ ARTOIS Male, middle-aged French Café Owner, playing age 40-60. This is the central role, René is on stage most of the time and drives the show’s narrative. René is the only character to frequently break the 4th wall to speak directly to the audience. René is a self-confessed coward who tries to remain impartial whilst always protecting his own best interests. He is a harangued but charismatic everyman and despite a rather ordinary appearance seems to have an irresistible allure, particularly to his two young waitresses and also to Gruber, a friendly German Officer who likes to frequent the café. This is a physical role which will involve lots of sexual innuendo and a number of amorous scenes!
COLONEL KURT VON STROHM Male, playing age 40-60, German. The Colonel is the corrupt town commandant who likes to line his own pockets with stolen Nazi treasures. He is a frequent visitor to the café where he seeks favours from the waitresses. He also forces René to conceal stolen artefacts for him and in return keeps secret the knowledge that René is hiding the British airmen in his basement. He is greedy, vain and self-serving yet remains quite likeable despite all of this. Ideally, the Colonel should be played by someone who is stocky. The Colonel wears a “wiglet” for a large part of the play. Sings/speaks a line in one of Edith’s cabaret songs.
CAPTAIN ALBERTO BERTORELLI Male, playing age 20-50, Italian. Bertorelli is a flamboyant, bombastic Italian captain attached to the German forces. He believes himself to be very charming and has a keen eye for the ladies, but he loves nobody more than he loves himself. Bertorelli is over-thetop in both his speech and physicality. Bertorelli is in league with Colonel Von Strohm and also plans to profit from undeclared stolen Nazi goods. He sings /speaks a line in one of Edith’s cabaret songs and has to impersonate Hitler in Act 2. 4
HERR OTTO FLICK Male, playing age 20-50, German, preferably blonde but not essential. Herr Flick is an agent of the Gestapo. He walks with a limp and uses a stick as a walking aid/weapon! He is reportedly Himmler’s godson and aspires to be like his Nazi hero. Flick is entirely emotionless and cold, yet still manages to demonstrate a repressed /mildly sadistic passion for his assistant Helga. Flick is nearly always seen in long leather coat, pin stripe suit, leather gloves and glasses. In this show he plays the violin, dances a tango (stiffly) and also disguises himself as a sexy cinema usherette. Please do let us know when auditioning if you are adept at any of these skills!
LIEUTENANT HUBERT GRUBER Male, German, playing age 20-60. Gruber is a kindly German officer, who doesn’t much enjoy his official duties (with the possible exception of time spent in his “little tank”). Gruber does enjoy his visits to the café though, and lives in hope of expanding his relationship with René, with whom he feels he has a special bond! Gruber frequently walks in on René in a variety of compromising or embarrassing positions. The subtext of course is that Gruber is hopelessly in love with René, which should be played with subtlety and not overtly camp.
GENERAL LUDVIG VON SCHMELLING Male, German, playing age 40-60. General Von Schmelling does not appear in the TV show but is a similar character to General Von Klinkerhoffen. He is a senior officer who takes his military duties very seriously indeed. He is a strict, authoritative figure who takes a very dim view of the Resistance, and corruption within his own ranks. Everyone is terrified of him, with the exception of Herr Flick. Schmelling is supposed to have a wooden leg and he could also wear an eye patch.
OFFICER CRABTREE Male, British, disguised as a French “poloceman”, playing age between 20-50. A gem of a part, this character has some of the most popular catchphrases from the series, e.g. “Good moaning! I was just pissing by…” etc. Crabtree is a British undercover agent posing as a very sombre French policeman. His knowledge of French is very weak and he often uses the wrong vowel sounds leading to comical misunderstandings! The actor taking this role would ideally be tall and slender. This is a physical role and will involve some compromising positions!
ROGER LECLERC Male, French, playing age 60+ (can be aged up for the part). An elderly forger and escaped convict he now works for the French Resistance. Leclerc appears in a variety of different disguises (all unconvincing)! In the TV series, Leclerc was also the pianist who accompanies Edith in the café, but it’s not imperative Leclerc is a piano player as we can fake it!
RAF AIRMEN: FLIGHT LIEUTENANTS FAIRFAX AND CARSTAIRS 2 x Male Roles, British. Fairfax and Carstairs are the British Airmen in hiding in René’s café, awaiting repatriation with the help of The French Resistance. Should be played as the quintessential “chocs away” happy-go-lucky Brits. Whilst these roles are very memorable from the series, there are relatively few lines for these parts in the stage show. The airmen pop out of various hidden locations on the set. We may build these roles further to include between-scene sketches as well (TBC). These parts can be doubled with a backstage role and would require relatively little rehearsal.
EDITH ARTOIS Female, French, playing age 40-60. Demanding but faithful wife of René Artois. Despite being a terrible singer, Edith believes that she is a musical star and regularly performs a cabaret at the café which is usually badly received by the patrons. Edith has 2 musical numbers in the show, which need to be comically off-key! Edith is very gullible, passionate and long-suffering. For the audition, as well as script work we will ask you to perform a short burst of a song of your choice, preferably with some movement as well. The song can be anything, but think about the kind of song Edith might sing! Your challenge is to try to make me laugh – singing out of tune won’t be an issue but a bonus!
YVETTE CARTE-BLANCHE French waitress, tall and attractive, ideally brunette. Playing age 18-40. Yvette is a good looking waitress who is having a passionate affair with René. She hopes to elope with him one day. As a side-line Yvette & Mimi “entertain” soldiers in one of the upstairs rooms of the café. Yvette also takes part in the grand cabaret so she needs to be able to sing and dance. As part of the audition for this role, we will ask you to perform a short burst of a song of your choice, in a comedic and saucy (ha!) style with some movement as well.
MIMI LABONQ French waitress, short, cute. Playing age 18-40. Mimi Labonq is a feisty waitress and secret assassin working for the French Resistance. Mimi is also having a passionate affair with René unbeknownst to Edith or Yvette. She is tempestuous and fiery and often has to be held back from attacking German visitors in the café. As a sideline Yvette & Mimi “entertain” soldiers in one of the upstairs rooms of the café. Mimi also takes part in the grand cabaret so she needs to be able to sing and dance. As part of the audition for this role, we will ask you to perform a short burst of a song of your choice, in a comedic feisty style – please think about adding with some movement as well.
MICHELLE DUBOIS French, local leader of the Resistance Movement, playing age 20-40. Catchphrase: “Listen very carefully, I will say this only once”. Michelle has persuaded a reluctant René to help them hide 2 British Airmen in the cellar. She frequently appears in disguise and is highly passionate about her cause. Speaks with a French accent except when talking to the British Airmen when she adopts an exaggerated upper class English accent.
PRIVATE HELGA GEERHART German, playing age 20-40, preferably blonde. Attractive secretary to General Von Strohm. Helga is in a strange sadomasochistic relationship with Herr Flick. Helga has to strip down to her sexy lingerie in one scene (TBC!!!). She also will be performing a very uptight tango in another scene. Helga is clipped and severe but a sexy seductress lurks underneath her harsh exterior.
PLUS 4 x Extra actors (Male or female) to appear in various café scenes and also double as stage crew.