When in Rome

4 Stars

****

Cambridge Fools’ very entertaining musical comedy is something of a Roman style ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’. The plot follows a typical format: bashful boy meets pretty girl; they sense mutual attraction; they fall out but will they come together again?

The action is set in the home of Caecilius (Stef Porter), a Roman Senator, and his wife Metella (Georgia Sams). They are a middle aged couple who bicker but deep down they love each other. In the slave’s quarter, the young, awkward yet ambitious Clemens (Tom Pye) and the older, more worldly Grumio (Tom England) provide the mirthful comedy routines. The love interest is between the painfully shy Quintus (Jonothan Cordin), and the attractive Melissa (Lucie Shorthouse). Their feelings for each other can never be revealed for Quintus is of noble rank in the guardianship of Caecilius and Melissa is a low born slave girl.

Flitting into the action is a rather camp Augustus (Adam McInally), his sensuous and promiscuous daughter Julia (Kirsten-Ellen Lett) and the poet Ovid (Brian Mifsud), portrayed as a cool rapper.

With a live band providing accompaniment, the songs which are worked into the show are pop classics. You can see them coming from the dialogue but this just adds to the fun. Queen’s ‘I Want to Break Free’ is pretty obvious coming from Clemens and is a real hoot. When the whole company perform dance routines to such songs as Steps ‘Tragedy’ and the Spice Girls ‘Wannabe’, it is spectacular – so together and athletic. The Pussycat  Dolls ‘Don’t Cha’ is given a decidedly raunchy interpretation by the dancing girls in a feast scene.

Within the highly talented cast, special praise must go to Lucie Shorthouse as Melissa for her display of all round talent – acting, singing and dancing. She holds the whole piece together as the central character. It is a real joy to see a company of young players perform with much verve and skill.

Reviewed by Ben

Venue; Venue Number – theSpaces @ Surgeons Hall; V53

Dates – 6 to 28 August 2010 (not 8, 15, 22)

Times – 6-7; 9-14; 16-21: 19.10 to 20.20

23-28: 18.10 to 19.20

Fringe Programme Page Number: 221

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One Response

  1. Loved the show best thing I’ve seen at the festival by far. Anyone know the name of that red hot dancing girl. Bloody brilliant.

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