'Arf 'n' 'Arf (1984)

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Poster by Don North

by Alan Buckman, Nigel Rees, Alan Coren, Michael Palin, Gerald Wiley, Bob Block, (Frank Muir & Dennis Norden), Waterhouse & Hall

Music by (Mike Nichols & Ken Welch), Richard Adler, Ron Grainer & Richard Rogers

Directed by Alan Buckman

Performances: Sat 28th – Sun 29th July 1984, Bell Theatre


"You are advised to read this programme very carefully - it would be useful if one of us knew what was going on"

A sort of comedy show in 2 'arfs with many sketches in each. And an 'arf time.

The Cast List (Although some of them stand nearly straight)

In alphabetical order (as opposed to height or age)

  • Eileen Bicarregui - (The famous anagram)
  • Steve Hannington - (man of a Hundred vices sorry Voices)
  • Nikki Hogg - (Fresh from her Triumph - parked outside)
  • Lynn Jenner - (Mistress of the art of playing Brahms and Liszt)
  • Matthew Lyne - (No stranger to our audience - than he is to anyone else)
  • Brenda Meldrum - (Neat, petite and exquisitely marked - 'Made in Korea')
  • Alan Buckman - (So I'm not in alphabetical order - but it looks so humble to put myself at the bottom)



"It ain't 'arf good, Alan.

....offered a refreshing draught and was brimming with good things snappily presented by a cast of six, plus pianist Lynn Jenner.

One of the six was Alan Buckman, and he was clearly a good deal more than first among equals. Not only was he credited as director, designer, lighting designer and choreographer, but he also wrote the bulk of the material. The best tribute I can pay him is to say that I had to consult the programme to find out which sketches were the work of some of our leading satirical scriptwriters and which Buckman's.

True, there was a little labouring of points here and there, for example in a piece about Schubert's "unfinished" Symphony. A trimming of the edges here and there would have helped. But the overall standard was excellent: witty, needle-sharp and well pointed by a splendid cast.

Brenda Meldrum was well to the fore, with a range of voices on the scale of Grenfell. I liked her clever feminist pater, cutting out all male gender references even to the extent of replacing "speaking" with "Speakqueen". (Think about it).

The show began with a look at the domestic life of a family exemplified by a Matthew Lyne reluctant to follow the habits of the species.

Highlights to remember were Alan Buckman chairing a panel of literary psueds; Steve Hannington giving the lowdown on sponsored sport; Eileen Bicarregui (The famous anagram) sighing over Mills & Boon; and, best of all, Nikki Hogg as a pantomime Hamlet in the show's climax with the Good Fairy Fortinbras bringing back to life the litter of bodies for a happy ending. It provided the perfect ending to a happy show."

Donald Madgwick, the Croydon Advertiser, reprinted in SCENE with permission.


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