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FROME – THE FECUND COMING

THE STREETS OF FROME

 

This mysteriously titled offering from Rare Species company takes us, on a very warm evening, for a perambulation around the town with the stated object of enlightening us on the history of the great city of Frome. It is led by Virginia Saggers, from the Frome Association of Retired Teachers (you  can work out the acronym for yourself), and the eminent, if rather dilapidated, local historian Gerald Terd, who is very insistent that the correct spelling of his surname is understood. The pair are adept at taking a tiny granule of fact about the town, and expanding it into deliciously bonkers takes on all sorts of things; we learn for instance, about the Frominati, the mystical cabal who are behind the secret history of everything; we come across, surprisingly, the shade of the late Bruce Forsyth; there are descriptions of dubious ancient customs involving the holy well and the male genitalia. In short, this is a constant array of daft surprises; who knew, for instance, about the famous writers who were here, penning their Frome-based epics, which have largely, ahem, been forgotten in favour of their other works.  And though the show is weird (but hilarious) from the outset, it gets steadily weirder as we are led around the cobbled back streets, culminating in a sacrificial ritual, the detail of which I  won’t go into here. These two are skilled and sharp performers, adept at improvising comedy from any haphazard thing that happens on the way, before returning to the ludicrous script. If you’re after finding out the actual history of the town, this is not for you; but for incessant and imaginative laughs it can’t be beat.

 

 

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                                                                                        John Christopher Wood