A review by Geoff Hale, Buckinghamshire Advertiser
Almost a Roman banquet – to be precise, plates of nibbles and a bowl of fruit – welcomed the capacity audience at Chalfont St Peter Community Centre on the second night of this musical comedy by Stephen Sondheim.
This must be a very satisfying show to perform, with its many outrageous characters and some delightful cameo roles. The St. Peter Players performed it with gusto and gave an appreciative audience a cracking night.
I’m afraid the production was slightly marred by the singing. This show is listed as a musical and, although certain songs were dropped, several members of the cast were hard-pressed to sing the remaining numbers in tune.
Aptly named, Graham Caesar-Gordon played Pseudolus, a slave. He acted as the storyteller throughout the evening and in the opening number, Comedy Tonight, he introduced the cast, including his fellow slave, Hysterium, played by Albert Westover and the three Proteans – Tina Barclay, Sarah Golding and Ian Telford. The trio played many parts including soldiers and slaves and spent the whole evening running about or standing to attention and saluting in a ludicrous way.
We also met the courtesans from the house of ill-repute, run by the licentious Lycus (Simon Patterson) – including Tintinabula (Julie Hall) whose sensual belly dance brought gasps from the audience.
Also living in the house was a virgin called Philia, enchantingly played by Louise Audoin. Pseudolus was owned by Domina, a crusty lady played by Wendy Graham, and her husband Senex, brilliantly performed by John Sharp. His timing and delivery were a joy to observe, as was his constant pursuance of Philia, who in turn is loved from afar by their son Hero (Jeremy Green).
John Draper gave us a most comical Erronius, an old man in search of his long-lost children. He was sent to circle the city of Rome seven times and appears with increased exhaustion on each entrance.
A complication to the already complicated plot was Miles Gloriousus, dramatically performed by Mark Cassidy, who lay claim to the custody of the virgin, Philia, and stopped at nothing to get her in his clutches.
The resulting mayhem was excellently staged by directors, Charlotte Graham and Kate Patterson, and brought the evening to a riotous conclusion