ChorusLambousa’s new Musical Play at the Barons’ Theatre in Chateau Lambousa, Lapta
By Heidi Trautmann
The world is a stage,
The stage is a world of entertainment.
Who does not know the famous song in the Band Wagon musical by Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz. That’s Entertainment! This slogan is written on the flag of ChorusLambousa, in big letters. People want to be entertained, a wise decision by the old Romans: Give the people plays and they will be content. Today they still go to plays but not to overlook their rulers’ misdeeds but to forget the daily routine, to escape boredom, unhappiness and misery.
‘’We must be grateful to those who operate this society valve, Christians are no longer fed to the lions but musicals are played that touch all emotions and make people laugh and cry at the same time.
Francine Ash the creator of ChorusLambousa who in 2007 had undertaken to build up a musical company, a chorus with men and women living in Cyprus and some solo voices she would train, give them confidence and would work with for musical shows. Now in 2010 on April 22, 23 and 24 she could realize her dream to bring a true musical play on stage, a musical she and director Mark Lake have written and devised. Mark Lake had only recently joined the TheatreLambousa and ChorusLambousa companies and he seemed to be the energetic motor to give Francine the courage to realize her idea of a musical.
“Only a Rose”, the story of Rosalind Rosethorn, a former Broadway star, played by Val Wilce, who cannot let go her grief about the death of her husband, a Broadway director of old days and she sits there always with a rose next to her husband’s picture. Grahame Ash plays the deathly white figure of the late Maurice Makepeace. I thought these roles the most difficult ones since they sit through the whole play and are forlorn in their memories and have to act mostly with their mimicry, and with a photo album on Rose’s lap going through the various stations of their stage life together. They do that excellently.
In two acts we are shown Rose’s and Maurice’s young lives played by Linda Burton and Anthony McCartney who are both relative newcomers to the stage. They play their parts with love and emotion. Anita Woods who not only acts as the confidante of Rose but also dances with the girls, is an old hand and shows beautiful legs.
The choir of about 40 members is the backbone of ChorusLambousa and in my opinion they have reached professional level. Even some more male singers have come to join the group and they are all doing excellently with great enthusiasm.
The hits of the show were Habanera from Carmen by Bizet sung by Caroline Attwood and Chris Heath, two great talents, then You’ve Gotta Get a Gimmick sung Attwood and Chris Heath, two great talents, then You’ve Gotta Get a Gimmick sung and performed by Chris Heath, Denise Bailey and Jillie Regan, what a hilarious rendition when they swung their hips to the tact of the percussion man. Here I must add some words to the “band” sitting in a sort of improvised orchestra pit. Chris Clayton, percussion, and Terese Miller on the keyboard have joined Francine Ash on the piano. It made a big difference, especially in this last mentioned slapstick performance. There was another slapstick performance Bosom Buddies sung by Sue Cowley and Sandy Pace and the audience thanked them with roaring laughter.
They would all deserve to be mentioned by name but I think the photos will tell how they all acted, sung, danced and enjoyed themselves. The choir members of all ages not only gave all their voice but gave their whole body to it. “We show them”, they all seemed to say, “we show them what entertainment is”. In the end all old friends, her late husband’s always present ghost, persuade Old Rose to return to stage and there she was in a red ball room dress showing her vitality with the songs I’m still here (Follies) and Blow Gabriel Blow (Anything Goes by Cole Porter) as the closing scene of the wonderful musical play. On all three evenings the audience who had come from everywhere across the island, gave standing ovations and I join them here with a bunch of roses for “Only a Rose”.