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Mad Cow ReviewerReviews

Here are some reviews of our previous productions.

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In April 2004, Alex and Lisa decided to present this musical, donating the proceeds to Crossroads and Hope House Children’s Hospice. How lucky we were that they did! We were in for a treat!

Forum, set in about 200 B.C., is a wonderful bawdy romp inspired by the farces of the Roman playwright Plautus, with great plot twists and an array of cleverly drawn characters. It won several Tony Awards on Broadway.

The central character is Pseudolus, a slave, played with great panache by Steve Venezia, bringing to the part his usual flare, enthusiasm, and that dazzling smile! Adam Burgan is a suitably lovelorn Hero with a melodic singing voice and eyes for no-one but Philia, delightfully played by Jessica Rowe. Steve de Launey as Lycus, “a trader in the flesh of women”, is in fine, wily form: the consummate performer, and master of timing – as is Garry Bailey playing Senex, his elderly neighbour. Garry plays the older man adeptly for one so young! And as his wife, the aptly named Domina, we have the delights of Lorna Crosse's beautiful soprano voice – and hussy acting!

Next we have the nervy slave Hysterium, so ably played by Robert Hinton; at one point dressed as “a golden-tressed courtesan” – I won’t begin to explain why – a definite highlight of his performance. Clive Jones brings his usual great characterisation to the befuddled Erronius, while Ian Churms, as Miles “Stand Back! I take large steps” Gloriosus, a great warrior, makes a most successful progression from playing romantic leads to a strutting, posturing character part.

And so to the delightful courtesans: Rae Bromley, Kathryn Lewis, Hayley Cooke, Nicola Steventon and Charlotte and Emily Mulloy. With lovely dancing (choreographed by Lisa) and dreamy pastel-coloured dresses, each girl brings a different characterisation to her part. A nice touch to have them serving refreshments in the interval – much to the delight of the male audience!

And last but certainly not least, the trio of Proteans: Michael Barratt, Paul Bromley and Steve Jones, who were men of many parts, cleverly adding one or two props to their basic costumes to portray different characters; helmets and swords as soldiers, fans as eunuchs, etc. Well done to all of them.

Add an excellent orchestra, conducted by Ken Lumley; sound mixed expertly by Andrew Hinton; a most effective simple set of three houses in terracotta, white and pale green; clever lighting in ‘sugar almond shades’ by Tom Lightbody (yes, his real name!) and lovely well-designed costumes and you have a most enjoyable, polished production that left the audience with a warm glow, having loved this Comedy Tonight!

Well done Alex and Lisa – we look forward to your next production!

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