Klondike Kalamity

by David Byrne and Gary Peterson

13th – 15th April 2000

The Great Yukon Blizzard of 1888 sets the scene for this hilarious romp over the fields of melodramatics. Included in the cast are: the fair and lovely maiden; the poor, crusty, but honest freelance lumberjack; the stalwart and heroic Mountie and a villain you will simply love to loathe! Add to their ranks a snow-blinded Indian, a flapjack-filching bruin and one befuddled lass who keeps forgetting her identity (not to mention her sex!), and you have a madcap farce in the finest and funniest tradition of the melodrama. Will Fangduster T. Barrelbottom get away with his unmentionably nefarious scheme? Can our true-blue hero ever hope to clear his foully besmirched name? Is there a chance that the heroine may escape the sawmill blade?

klondike prog

The Cast

Nell Oudt, a sweet and innocent girl: Jasmine Gartshore
Warren Oudt, her father: Robertson Bell
Roger B. Upright, a midnight visitor: Scott Hulme
Farley Goodbody, a stranger in disguise: Brenda Prior
Villain (Fangduster T. Barrelbottom VIII): Davis McKenzie
Chief Wapakonetta, a vengeful Indian chief: Nick Roberts
Gwendolyn Oudt, a face from the past: Fiona Mackay
Prince K’nook, a determined Eskimo: Philip Prior
Justice Dunn, an itinerant Judge: Paul Shave
Bruno, a bear: Himself

Produced by Enid Farr

Newbury Weekly News review

Oh, what a Kalamity!

A host of colourful characters trod the boards in true melodramatic style in the Compton Players’ latest production Klondike Kalamity.

Set somewhere in the Yukon territory in 1888, it had all the ingredients so vital to melodrama: love, greed, deceit, revenge, lost and found relatives and, as always, good triumphing over evil.

A pure and chaste maid (Nell Oudt) was revealed alone in a remote cabin. Her only company was the daily visit of Bruno the Bear at her window. Soon poor Nell was joined by her father (Warren Oudt) returning with meagre supplies, having tramped miles through the snow.

As Nell, Jasmine Gartshore played her role with charm and innocence. Considering this was her first role with the players, it was an impressive debut. Conversely, Robertson Bell used his considerable experience to great effect as Warren Oudt, bringing much humour to the proceedings.

No one ever came to their cabin, until then at least, but as the plot unfolded, we were inundated with visitors. Roger B Upright, a disgraced mountie on the run was played in true lantern-jaw style by Scott Hulme; Fangduster T Barrelbottom VIII, the despicable villain of the piece (boo), was excellently played by David McKenzie with deep south drawl, and Farley Goodbody (Brenda Prior) was a woman disguised as a man, being the amnesic long-lost wife of Warren Oudt.

The plot thickened. Fangduster had plenty of nasty tricks up his sleeve, but nothing that couldn’t be dealt with by Roger B Upright, and the next arrivals: Chief Wapakonetta (Nick Roberts – more cheers), Gwendoline Oudt (Fiona Mackay), Justice Dunn (Paul Shave) and Prince K’nook (Philip Prior – even more cheers).

The cabin scene was perfect, but the sawmill with the black masking cloths was not up to standard. The many effects, however, were well handled and the spirit of melodrama well maintained.

Director Enid Farr is to be congratulated for giving the young actors a chance to act in a full-scale production. The audience thoroughly enjoyed the twists and turns and the offbeat humour left us all thoroughly entertained.