At the beginning of the festive season the latest CADS production, ‘The Merry Monks of Cambusdonald’, was the perfect warming tonic.
This hilarious monastic comedy, set in 1471, saw Brothers Barnabus and Donatus conjure up visions of various voluptuous maidens. The results of this alchemy are enough to raise the blood-pressure of the hapless Brother Simon.
The overly pious Abbot, Brother Simplicissus suspects there are mischievous goings-on, yet he is unable to uncover the trickery of Barnabus and Donatus, thanks to the well-planned and directed concealment of the conjured visions. First, we are introduced to Helen of Troy, the very practical Jessie from Castlemilk, combined with the murderous Madeleine and the can-can dancer, Frou-Frou. The frantic comic timing of the dialogue and action, particularly in the second act when the pace becomes even more frenetic, was handled with great skill in the creative direction and by the energetic cast.
It transpires that the legend of these visions has reached the Vatican, and Cardinal Giovanni Monteverdi is dispatched to assess their authenticity. His arrival further complicates the efforts of the three monks in their quest to hide the rather racy incarnations. The Cardinal’s rather limited English vocabulary leads to a merry mixture of Malapropisms leaving us uncertain as to whether he recommends the Brothers be castigated or castrated, the dialogue being worthy of ‘Allo ‘Allo, with the ensuing slapstick well-executed, reaching a rather unexpected climax.
Attending a CADS production has long been on my ‘To Do’ list, and after this hilariously irreverent offering, I look forward to enjoying the next production of this talented company.