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THE AVENGERS are back with a vengeance, complete with lascivious leather, crude karate and whimsical wit. The stars of the new spectacular stage version which opens at London's Prince of Wales Theatre tonight, have all the off-beat appeal that made TV's Patrick Macnee, Honor Blackman, Diana Rigg and Linda Thorsen [sic] famous. The big stage demands a magnified projection of the small screen original, so the cast are more glamorous, more amorous and considerably more kinky. Consider Kate O'Mara of the almond eye and moistly pouting lip. She plays the sinister Madam Gerda, in the highest of thigh-boots. If Madam Gerda represents the forces of evil, who wants to be on the side of the angels? Well John Steed does, played by virile Simon Oates of TV's Doomwatch. Immaculate in trendy suit, curly-brimmed bowler, tightly furled brolly and well-polished shoes, the debonair Oates has obviousy coped with the likes of Madam Gerda before. There's also faithful Hannah, played by luscious Sue Lloyd, to help Steed cope with all contingencies. Comedy star Leslie Phillips has directed this spoof with a light touch that promises to make this show and Simon, Sue and Kinky Kate established stars.

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