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Orpheus in the Underworld reviewed
by Lorri Little in The
Isle of Wight County Press 18/07/03
(reproduced by kind permission of the Isle of Wight
of the Can Can in a deliciously naughty finale provided the
perfect highly charged ending to Cowes
Operatic and Dramatic Society's latest offering.
A large and enthusiastic cast performed the colourful operetta
Orpheus In The Underworld at the Thinity Theatre to great aplomb.
The CAODS version of the 1858 Jacques Offenbach play used arrangements
of the original score with an updated book and translated lyrics
The fast-moving comedy featured larger-than-life characters
and this was what made the Cowes group so enjoyable to watch.
It made for great entertainment to have so many odd characters
The synopsis is too complicated to go into detail, but suffice
to say it is a classic tale of love and discontentment, heaven
and hell and gods and mortals, providing a tongue in cheek indictment
of class systems, hierarchies and traditions.
Phil Segal, in his debut as director, certainly took up a challenge
with the ridiculously over-the-top comedy but brought the best
qualities the fore.
The plot built up over the three hours, giving away little snippets
of the famous Galop, better known as the Can Can, until at last
the dance broke out in full, the moment we had all been waiting
It surpassed expectations as the dix scantily clad girls put
in breathlessly energetic performances, running rings around
the other characters in a cheeky interpretation of the dance.
There were so many good performances it seems unfair to mention
just a few. However, Steven Young was excellent in the lead role
of virtuoso Orpheus and had a strong voice, while Tracey Boudreau
as his wife, Eurydice, was clearly very irritated at being married
to him and made it clear she wanted out.
Anita Davies as Calliope had some challenging fast-moving singing
to contend with but made it look easy, while Phil Burland had
presence as Pluto and Paul Stevens was a successful and amusing
Some of the best plaudits ought to go to choreographer Liz Segal,
musical director and vocal coach Robin Holbrook, and the lighting
and set construction crew. One star did not go unnoticed despite
being tucked away in the pit. Many people commented on how wonderful
the 77-year-old violinist George Reid was. He accom panied the
pre-recorded synthesiser music throughout the performance. As
one would expect with the age of this play, much of the singing
was extremely high-pitched and grated after a while, but that
is my only, minor, complaint. CAODS patron Alan Titchmarsh attended
the gala evening, and said theatres were special to him because
he met his wife in one. He also pointed out that as patron, he
was following in the footsteps of Princess Beatrice, Queen Victoria's
youngest daughter. Money raised at the gala evening will go to
one of Mr Titchmarsh's other causes, Cowes Inshore Lifeboat.