Part of the American High School Theatre Festival, Scarlett High School from Canada present Platus’ 200 B.C.E play ‘Mostellaria.’ Going to a play called ‘The Haunted House’ I was expecting it to be a spooky ride of ghosts and ghouls. However, the haunted house motif actually plays a very small part in the plot, which concerns Young Philolaches , who has been living his life to the full while his family are away on business. He has partied so hard he has needed to borrow a lot of money as he purchased the freedom of a slave girl he fell in love with. His mother unexpectedly returns from business and panic ensues. The cover up story of the family home becoming haunted stops his mother from entering her beloved house. The play is a typical Roman comedy farce and revolves around fast pace delivery and over the top characters.

The cast certainly delivered this style very well. All the characters were exaggerated and the got the comic timing spot on. Special mention has to go to the actress playing the elderly neighbour, who totally committed to the character. A shuffling walk, scrunching up of the face and a permanent hunch meant she pulled off the character with ease and perfect energy. Similarly the actor playing the moneylender worked the audience really well and had everyone laughing as he came and took a seat in the crowd and wrapped his arm around a female audience member. The rest of the cast did equally well, but sometimes their diction was lost due to the exaggerated voices or shouting. It was a shame because the lines were very witty and mostly delivered very well.

The cast worked well as a group and fed off each other’s energy brilliantly. There were points where I did forget it was a cast of high school children because some of lead’s acting was so good. Unfortunately a few slips out of character and a few uncertain moves reminded me that it was a group of youngsters performing to me. However, the group did extremely well working with a wordy play and put on a good show. Lots of farcical running about and falling over makes this show a right treat!

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The Blurb

This Roman farce, written around 200 B.C.E., follows Plautus’ (in)famous slave, Tranio, as he causes confusion, chaos and hilarity in the lives of his masters. Produced by EP Scarlett High School from Calgary, Canada.

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