"Gold! Gold! Is there anything more beautiful than gold? It shines, it sparkles, it glitters, it gleams... Everything fades into insignificance compared to the magnificence of my gold."
The tale of Midas, the original ‘King of Bling’ whose greed for gold was so obsessive that he lost sight of what is truly important in life, was the premise behind this year’s entertaining musical production at the Boy’s School. With the music and lyrics written by the School’s Director of Music, Janet Grierson, the show delivered glitter, glamour and sparkle with eleven memorable songs, and a fun-packed script.
Greeted by toga clad ‘Greek Gods’ (our male teaching staff!) and handed a ‘gold’ chocolate coin on entering JC Chalmers Hall, the ‘gold theme’ was set for our audience. The show opened with the scene-setting song ‘Such a Wealthy Man’ as King Midas (superbly played by James Allan) regally entered, making immediate demands to be waited on by his entourage of palace workers. It soon became apparent that the King’s all-consuming obsession for gold has cost him the respect of his people.
His love of the finer things in life, namely food and clothes, is also made clear through the many demands he places on his royal chefs and tailors who pander to his every whim. But when he is required by his financial advisors to discuss important issues of government, to their great despair, he dismisses them, preferring to concentrate on counting his own stash of gold coins. As he counts, he sings ‘So Much Money’ declaring that ‘it excites me and delights me, it fills me with desire, it’s enticing and inviting this obsession to acquire!’
Mrs Midas (Fraser Hamilton) and their daughter, Marigold (Edward Wilkes) long for Midas to be the loving, attentive husband and father he used to be. In a poignant song, ‘Day After Day’, they wish they could turn back time to the way things used to be. Mrs Midas wishes that her husband could see what is happening to him and the effect his obsession is having on his family but he has become so self-indulgent that he is oblivious to the needs of others.
But it is not only his family who are worried, his once-loyal subjects have become angry as their King neglects his duties and their city begins to crumble. As things go from bad to worse, a stranger visits Midas, offering to grant him one wish, in the hope that he will take the opportunity to become a wiser and more caring ruler. He leaves telling Midas to think carefully about the wish he chooses.
Although advised by his wise men and family to wish for something for the benefit of everyone and the betterment of the city, sadly Midas requests that everything he touches be turned to gold. In his mind, he imagines that he will turn his city into a place of great beauty and win the admiration of his family and people.
Delighted with his new powers, Midas proceeds to gleefully turn every object in his palace and gardens into gold – even his roses, much to the bewilderment of his gardeners. His initial glee is soon tempered as he comes to realise the error of his ways – the wish he has been granted proves to be more of a curse than a blessing. He hadn’t counted on his golden touch also turning his food and drink to gold. When no-one dares to come near him, Midas is distraught and begs forgiveness. ‘I have been greedy, thinking only of myself. What a foolish, foolish man I have been. I don’t care about gold and riches any more. If I was poor but had food to eat, the love of my family and the respect of my people again, I’d have all the treasure I’d ever need.’
The stranger returns and tells him ‘You became greedy. You had everything you could possibly want but still you wanted more. You thought that gold would make you happier but the opposite is true. Your value is not determined by what you own. The most valuable things in life are not the things that money can buy. Midas, you were blinded by your own greed.’
After a bathe in the river, Midas is relieved of his golden touch and once again ruled his kingdom with wisdom. He finally comes to understand that his family are the real treasures in life.
The final song, ‘Turn it Around,’ brought the whole cast to the stage for an exuberant number that was a fitting finish to a superb show.
Those on stage were supported by a strong instrumental backing from the School band. The combination of a catchy musical score played by accomplished musicians, superb acting and singing, along with a fantastic set and colourful costuming made for a really enjoyable show.
This was the southern hemisphere premiere of the show written by Mrs Grierson which has been published internationally and performed over one hundred times in the UK.
Our thanks go to: The Director, Janet Grierson; Producer, Pip Simonian; Musical Director, Edwin Randell; Set construction, Thomas Barter; Wardrobe Manager, Carolyn Williams and the many staff and parents who assisted to make this such an enjoyable show.