The Atomic Cheese Conspiracy cast was, in order of appearance:

Henrietta Waddington, Mahamati, Jennifer Willcox, David Stocker, Jack McKnight-Mullen, Madeleine Stocker, Mishi Stern, Alby McKinight-Mullen, Satya Lily, Harley Rainbow, Premda,

Gandharvo, Rachelle Blick, Harriet McKnight-Mullen, Jack Berry, Heidi Atkins, Polly McDonald, Fin Bailey, Simon Clarke, Craig Beale, Skye Etherington, Cody Dean, Arati George.

Scirpt development David Stocker, costume assistance Madeleine Stocker, poster design and artwork Libby Walker, Production Mahamati, backdrop painting Anatara Wright, photos Eryca Green.

The project was made possible with the financial assistance of artstart, Mumbulla Foundation and SEAR, and the support of Bega High School, Mumbulla School, Candelo Arts Society, Girl Guides Association, Rob Rogers, Robb Jamieson, Jen Hunt and the BHS Student  Rep Council.

The Atomic Cheese Conspiracy was a Commedia dell’Arte play that I created with Theatre Onset in Bega, southern NSW. This was a huge production with a cast of 23 ranging in age from teens to fifties, that concerned Pantalone, CEO of a large multinational corporation, visiting the Meagre Valley and seeing that the perfect site for his new nuclear power plant would be where the Meagre Cheese Factory stands. The Mayor, Dr Rufus Stilton, has to choose between nuclear power and his love of cheese...

The Atomic Cheese Conspiracy performed for four nights, two nights at Bega High School hall, one night at the Candelo Hall and one night at the Murrah Hall near Bermagui.

Funny, Fresh and Frenetic

Bega News, Friday September 14, 2007, by Claire Lupton.

The audience at the Bega High school assembly hall rocked with laughter on Wednesday night at the Commedia dell’Arte show, The Atomic Cheese Conspiracy.

Henrietta Waddington as Gorgioso and Mahamati as Voluptui were a kind of Greek chorus for the entirety of the play, if you can have a Greek chorus in an Italian style production set in the Bega Valley.

They completely improvised their dialogue, working with the audience and disparagingly with the other characters, and they were there at the end, after the curtain calls, wondering why the audience didn’t get up and go.

However they were so much fun very few of the audience did.

In this work, written by director Robin Davidson and Theatre Onset member David Stocker, there are villains, very melodramatic lovers and con men.

The worst villain was Pantalone, played by Rachelle Blick, who was determined to build a nuclear power plant in Bega Valley, and shock horror, right where the Bega Cheese factory is now.

He was aided in his nefarious scheme by Hyperbole, Polly MacDonald, and Dissembolo, Fin Bailey, always a step behind him, and Nobby, Harley Rainbow, and Gorgon, Premda.

Punch, Jack Berry, and Thwack, Heidi Atkins, were also Pantalone’s evil cronies.

The con men, only eager for Pantalone’s money, appeared at his side.

Dante, Simon Clark, and Brighella, Craig Beale, were able to convince him that they could make nuclear waste disappear, but Pantalone’s wife, Juanita, Harriet McKnight-Mullen, wanted her husband to disappear so she could have her way with Brighella.

The lovers, swooning and carrying on all over the place were Carenza, Madeleine Stocker, who was paired with Havarti, Cody Dean, and Ramon, Jack McKnight-Mullen, who loved Brie Camembert, Satya Lily.

Skye Etherington was Delilah who tries to help the lovelorn but goes into a depression herself.

David Stocker was Dr Rufus Stilton, who, as head of council, could say yea or nay to the atomic project and Alby McKnight –Mullen was the cowardly Captain.

There were three other cast members, Colombina the maid, who explained a lot of the action, a Spanish dancing Death played by Arati George, and one of the most delightful characters of all, Pedrolino, a mute, who uses a violin as his voice, played brilliantly by Mishi Stern.

This was an outstanding ensemble production and a lot of the credit for that must go to the director, Robin Davidson, who in a few weeks taught the actors the style of Commedia dell’Arte and allowed them to produce a very funny, highly entertaining play.

However, everyone involved must be congratulated. The choreography of the fights was very good indeed and they were hilarious.

See this show tonight, Friday, at the Murrah Hall, and it is back in Bega at the High School on Saturday.

Photos by Eryca Green