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Up Pompeii (tour – Westcliff)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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Funny things seem to happen in Pompeii, and they’re not necessarily on the way to the forum. Miles Tredinnick’s comedy, based on the characters created by Talbot Rothwell and Sid Colin] – not to mention Plautus or Stephen Sondheim, was originally commissioned by Frankie Howerd when the television series of the same title was high in the 1960s ratings.

Bruce James’ new production is a vehicle for Damian Williams as the slave Lurcio, desperately trying to sort out everyone else’s love life and to escape being sold on as potential dinner for the local amphitheatre’s lions. Williams is perhaps something of an acquired taste, but he has the measure of this sort of bawdy comedy and works hard to get the audience on his side. Sophie Leigh} as the woe-fortelling soothsayer runs him close, darting across the auditorium in a warm-up routine, though I’m glad to report that I suffered no misfortune going home after the show.

Skimpily-clad and full-figured young women feature largely in this sort of play. Here they are [Lucinda Kennard

as nymphomaniac Suspenda and Mieke Dockley as escaped slave-girl Erotica. She, of course, is lusted after by the son of the house ([Alex Newbold as Nausius) and Andrew Ryan’s Captain Treacherus. Neil Bull ponces around as Treacherus’ sidekick Kretinus and [Ben Roddy is Lurcio’s fellow slave and gag-foil Corneus. Jacqueline Roberts, Cloudia Knight and Richard Colson complete the hard-working cast.


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