Association of Community Theatre



The Three Towns Operatic Society


Director David Kay


Musical Director Rod Dakin


Orpheus in the Underworld tells the story of a wife (Eurydice) who has a dalliance with Pluto, ruler of Hades, and a husband (Orpheus) who despises his wife but engages the Gods to help him rescue her.


This adaptation of Offenbach’s comic opera has a “new book and lyrics” by Phil Park. After seeing other productions I wonder why there is only this version available for hire. The libretto is lacking clarity at times making the story seem a little dull.  This really does make life difficult for any production team to be creative.


The Three Towns presented a highly visual production with costumes by Charades of St. Helens. All the principals were lightly amplified which enabled the singing to sweep over the orchestra.


The star of the evening was the music, briskly conducted and played by a first rate orchestra. All the principals shone vocally, and the ensemble was as tight as they could be. It all went at a “hell of a galop”.


There are so many characterisations to be created. On Mount Olympus we met Julia Sutton, as Cupid, Jennie Heywood, as Venus and Lauren Smith, as Diana. They all injected vocal colour into their roles. Adding to the mix, and on an equal footing with the ladies, was Winston Carmichael as Mars. David Kay, as Mercury, did everything he could  to get some humour out of the script.


As Jupiter, king and patriarch of the unruly Olympians Ken Rees gave a razor-sharp performance, both vocally and dramatically. Mrs Jupiter, Juno played by Barbara Mayers kept her brood, and her husband, well in place.


The Kathleen Atherton Academy of Dance supplied the choreography executed by six very capable academy dancers. The “Galop” “Can-Can” was a highlight of the production.


In an operetta in 3 acts, act 1 is purely the exposition, a means to establish characters, relationships and the storyline. The company of Shepherds and Shepherdesses made way for Orpheus, played by Tony Meehan who gave a strong and confident performance. Orpheus, along with his mother, Calliope (Susan Bradley), set off to recruit and obtain the help of the gods. They made the journey in a hot-air balloon piloted by Icarus (John Avery).


Ruler of the underworld, Pluto, was flamboyantly portrayed by David Griffiths who has seduced Eurydice and taken her to his kingdom.  The act opens in his bedroom where she is guarded by Styx. John Styx, a servant of Pluto, and formerly king of Boeotia, was played by David Reeves. His rich tones gave life to  the song of Styx’s former glory days, “I Was a King”.


Playing the feisty, saucy Eurydice, the one who has caused all the trouble with the gods, was Victoria Goulden. Victoria created the character giving it life with a sparkling performance.


It is obvious that the company enjoyed the whole romp; they all entered into the spirit of portraying the Greek gods, and the Olympian knees up. The members of the audience were clearly delighted. They must have left the theatre feeling uplifted by the evening’s entertainment.