Footrot Flats: The Musical (2012)

WHO would have believed that a flock of ewes, four dogs, a couple of pigs and various other farm residents could populate a Crookwell stage and provide bucket loads of laughs?

Well, that’s what is happening with the current CADS offering “FootrotFlats, he Musical,” taken from the popular comic strip by New Zealander Murray Ball and set to music.

All the characters from the comic strip are there, with the “animals” outnumbering the humans.

The humans of course are very much there in Wal Footrot himself, Cooch his environmentalist offsider, cranky Aunt Dolly, precocious niece Pongo and the gorgeous Cheeky – Wal’s romantic interest.

They are all as good as one has come to expect from a CADS production.

But the “animals” break new ground – and are hilarious. The costumes themselves are worth the cost of admission. Just the sight of Des Rowley (the reluctant but well endowed Cecil the ram), Rechell Naughton (unmistakably a cow), Maria Hill- Bennett (a glamorous sow), and the three ewes (Kerry Barr, Karen Ritchie and Margaret Hudson) was enough to send Sunday afternoon’s audience into a gale of laughter.

In a long list of credits for the crew behind the action, Rhonda Cummins was in charge of costumes – and showed her instinct for comedy is not restricted to the stage itself.

This side of her talents was on display in her role as Pongo.

Of course, being a tale of Footrot Flats Dog was a centre of the action.

Dog (his real name can never be revealed) was played by an amazingly agile Wal Smart – who was just great.

Wal’s “dog” actions of crawling, leaping, scratching (and all the other things dogs do) were a treat.

And his mournful howling to the moon over the departure of the love of his life Jess was a highlight. The role of the very fetching Jess was played by a lively Rie O’Brien.

A welcome newcomer to CADS in rugged Steve McKay filled two roles – as Cooch and as the awesome pig-dog Major (admired and feared by Dog). Steve has a very convincing glare as Major – and his heartfelt solo on preserving the earth was warmly received.

Smaller roles were filled by Robert Bill (as the fierce cat Horse) and Rob Huskinson (who fails in an attempt to buy Wal’s farm) – and who also fills the role of Boris the boar who woos and wins Dolores.

Which brings us back to the humans – James Kennedy fitting the role of Wal extremely well physically and dramatically – Janice Ciocca the redoubtable Aunt Dolly to a T, and Rhonda Cummins using her comedic talents as Pongo.

Kylie Chudleigh (helped by a massive blonde hairdo) was a statuesque Cheeky – with all the charms needed to coax Wal off his beloved farm.

Maria Hill-Bennett in her two roles (as the Corgi Prince Charles and Dolores the fecund sow) was a lot of fun – and possesses an attractive singing voice as well.

THE songs were catchy if not memorable, and as usual the ensemble singing was appreciated by the packed audience on Sunday.

The Sunday matinee is obviously a popular recent innovation by CADS.

“Footrot Flats – the Musical” is a different kind of offering by CADS – and once again our Dramatic Society has shown what can be achieved in entertainment with the enthusiasm and talent of a dedicated team.

Sandra Bill – long a rock in CADS foundations – was the producer and the constant laughter on Sunday afternoon was a clear indication of the success of her efforts.

“Footrot Flats” is a great way to spend an hour or two. If you don’t believe this reviewer – find out for yourself.

It will be on show again this Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Originally published online by the Goulburn Post as Farmyard fun at Footrot Flats.

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