Boxford Mosaic comes alive in Geraldine McCaughrean's magical Masque
Boxford Masques: Bellerophon
July 28 to August 1
Review by Robin Strapp
Community Theatre is alive and thriving with the return of the Boxford Masques production of Bellerophon.
It’s been 21 years since the Masques were first revived on Hoar Hill.
Award winning writer Geraldine McCaughrean’s epic tale follows the discovery of a Roman Mosaic at Mud Hole near the now recreation ground in Boxford where a tented “village” has been constructed surrounding the large covered performance stage. This ambitious production has brought together the small community of local actors, from the very young to the more senior residents. The talented company have embraced this community theatre project with enthusiasm and relish.
The versatile cast have the opportunity to unveil their personal skills with the on stage actor/musicians playing a variety of instruments. Mia Pitts as Athena skilfully plays the accordion. The play begins with Hera (Annabel Bailey) and a family picnic with the attentive butler Tails (Steve Wilson) and Charlotte Peake (Katy Sigrist) and her husband Harold (Dave Stephens), who has also written the vibrant music, discover a mosaic fragment.
Worlds and time begin to collide as the mystical oracle Delphi, an exuberant performance by Lizzie Lewis, offers the Peake’s a guided tour. We are transported to ancient Greece and the palace of Iobates (Jane Minchin) who also plays Medusa with brio.
The characters from the mosaic come to life including the flesh loving Furies - Tizzie (Sarah Godwin) Meg (Nicky Pitts) and Alice (Lucy Simpson). The robotic Telemons - Emily Beck, Rose Godwin and Evie Beck - were convincing and the house spirits the Lares, were a delightful chorus of little ones.
Our hero Bellerophon, an imposing performance from Dylan Morris, is tasked to kill the horrific monster Chimera. He meets Sander the horse master strongly played by Louie Morris and his fiancée the Princess Philonoe (Ella Hickman) who also cleverly choreographed the show. So, the quest begins and our adventure takes us to battles with the Chimera with the winged horse Pegasus with Bellerophon aboard and a visit to the underworld via the river Styx. It’s a whirlwind journey of suspense, magic and total commitment from all the large ensemble cast – too many to mention individually. Thankfully Delphi ensures that the time travellers all return home safely.
Musical director Trevor Defford leads the small band with confidence and the cast sing with gusto and the dance routines are inventive. Special mention to Polly Thomson and Emma Moscow’s design and Ian Fleming’s dramatic lighting and sound. Ade Morris assuredly directs and should be exceedingly proud of his company who obviously enjoyed the whole storytelling experience as did the audience.
This is community theatre at its very best and we were even gifted by a rainbow, so perhaps the gods where also approving. Bravo!