Abbey Theatre erupts with ‘Up Pompeii’

The cast of Up Pompeii at the Abbey Theatre.
The cast of Up Pompeii at the Abbey Theatre.

Friends, Lichties, countrymen, lend me your ears - if you like a good innuendo get yourself down to the Abbey Theatre and they’ll give you one!

The Abbey Theatre Club presents the boisterous and rude British classic ‘Up Pompeii’ by Miles Tredinnick and made famous on screen by Frankie Howerd.

The show is a fast-paced series of belly laughs carrying along a tale of sex and deceit in the Roman city of Pompeii.

The cast clearly have fun and remain true to the spirit of the play, talking to the audience and chortling at each other’s lines, as Frankie Howerd would have.

Gordon Holder, as downtrodden and devious slave Lurcio, proved his comedy chops, always staying on top with the quickfire banter and improvising with aplomb.

Jim Shaw was a giggle as decrepit deviant Ludicris Sextus who starts all the chaos when he plans a secret tryst. Said lover, Suspenda (Hilary Tasker) is a force of nature as she hilariously tears through the men.

Ludicris’ son, Nausius, he of the terrible love odes and crazy plans, was played to perfection by Byron Rodriguez. Debbi Proctor plays escaped slave Voluptua, rescued first by Nausius and then Lurcio, she excels at twisting the poor slobs to her will. Sticking his oar in is captain of the slave ship, Treacherous, played by a bombastic Alan Johnston. His sidekick, Kretinus, (David Taylor) delights with his lovestruck antics!

Moira Steven is Ammonia, the caustic wife of Ludicris, her unexpected appearance amidst all the fun is fantastic.

Erotica was played by Maddie Simpson, but when we saw it Laura Adam was in the role of the moody daughter bringing love notes into the 1st Century.

Jamie Smith gets many of the laughs as shifty Corneous the footman. Senna the Soothsayer (Pat Stewart) provides a funny leitmotif, heralding each disaster in turn.

Well done to the stage crew who have once again converted the Abbey’s stage a very convincing Roman villa. ‘Ave Caesar’ to producer Laura Adam for such an entertaining spectacle.