Volume 6 Week 27

Tuesday, May 276


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(Posted 9 a.m., May 27)

OYP musical hits all the right notes
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

The cast of 'Goddess, or True as an Arrow' perform one of three production numbers during the Orleans Young Players musical production. Fred Sherwin/Photo

"The Goddess, or True as an Arrow" is the second collaborative effort between Orleans Young Players instructor Andrea Cochrane and musician Alan Dean MacDowell who co-wrote "Sweet Nothin" together last year.

The musical was inspired by the works of Canadian playwright James Reany and loosely based on the myth of Cupid and Psyche in which Pscyche is a princess so beautiful that the goddess Venus grows jealous of her. In revenge, Venus sends her son Cupid to earth to strike Psyche with an arrow so that she will fall in love with a hideous monster. When Psyche falls in love with Cupid instead, they plead with the gods to allow Psyche to ascend to the heavens where she becomes an immortal and the two are wed.

In Cochrane and MacDowell's version of the myth, which is set during the birth of rock and roll in the mid 1950s, the god Bacchus has come down to earth and created rock and roll which leads to no end of unrest and anti-social behaviour, not to mention one heck of a racket.

To try and put things back to normal Jupiter sends his daughters Venus, Minerva and Diana to earth where they open a hair salon called "The Goddess In You". Business is down when Psyche enters the shop and Venus hatches a plan. She's going to turn the average looking girl into a beautiful poised young woman and then have her beat Bacchus in a dance contest so that he'll go back to Mount Olympus with his tail between his legs.

The plan goes awry when Psyche, having beaten Bacchus, becomes a rock and roll star herself which is where the myth comes into play. Venus sends Cupid to shoot Psyche with one of his arrows so that she will fall in love with the first man she sees and forget about her rock and roll career.

What follows is a hilarious scene in which two girls who follow Psyche to the salon, witness Cupid shoot her with the arrow. Believing that Cupid is a murderer they attack him and stab him with his own arrows. When Psyche and Cupid eventually wake up they immediately fall in love with each other.

This makes Venus even angrier, so she hatches another plan in which she sends Psyche to the bad part of town to look for a fictitious recording studio. While trying to find the studio she encounters a trio of purse snatchers and is killed while trying to get away from them.

Grief stricken Cupid begs Jupiter to bring Psyche back to life and make her an immortal, which he does.

During the Friday night performance, the cast members were all in fine voice although I have to admit that Bacchus' high range was a little too trebly for my delicate ears.

Conversely, I thought Cupid was superb. His/her solo performance of the title song "Straight as an Arrow" was one of the highlights of the evening. It wasn't until the final curtain call that I realized Bacchus and Cupid were played by the same person Mary Doyle. Quelle surprise.

I also really liked Erin Aucoin as Psyche and Sebastien Turcotte as Jupiter who sounded amazingly like Leonard Cohen, or the lead singer from the Crash Test Dummies.

The rest of superb cast included as Jamie Hurcomb as Venus; Meaghan Donohue as Minerva; Justine Davies as Diana; Haley Brennan as Jane; Meagan McDonald as Marilyn; and Alyssa Paliotti, Amanda Ricketts and Katie Webster as the three Zephyrs.

All but one of the pre-recorded backing tracks were performed by Steve Bourdeau on piano, Billy Buss on trumpet, Nathan Cepelinski on alto sax, John Gillies on tenor sax and MacDowell on guitar and bass, while Brian Brown played piano on "True as an Arrow".

Last but not least, Gabrielle Lazarovitz added her voice to several of the tracks.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)



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