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Princess Ida Reviews and Comments.
There were no weak parts in this show which had an excellent director - everyone we spoke to had nothing but praise for this production."
This production didn't begin promisingly, with a dull first act that practically put me to sleep, but it came to life in Acts II and III. I've never met royalty, but if I ever did, I suppose I would be reminded of Eileen Jackson's Ida. You cannot teach someone to move with such grace and assuredness; it is an instinctive talent, and Ms. Jackson possessed it. Her voice did not match Deborah Norman's Ida two years ago, but it was otherwise one of the better performances of the role that I've seen. Her interactions with Lady Blanche were special highlights. As Blanche, Alison Davis actually managed to justify the inclusion of "Come, mighty Must." Savoynetter Janice Rendel's Melissa was likewise superb. It was the first time I recall seeing Melissa dressed as a professor, rather than a student.
Top to bottom, the cast was probably better overall than Derby's winning production two years ago. With the overall talent level so high this year, there will be stiff competition for the awards, but David Turner's gushing adjudication certainly didn't leave him much headroom.
Some people criticized the production as static, and to be sure there were some numbers that the director failed to stage to their full potential. Perhaps the least successful was "The Lady and the Ape", which Lady Psyche simply sang directly at the audience while Hilarion and Florian smoked cigars at the back of the stage."
Marc Shepherd - New York, New York. Listowner Savoynet.
PRINCESS IDA Review in NODA issue January 2001 Sale G and S Society
Director: Eileen Jackson
Musical Director: Cliff Crewe
This was a well directed and colourful production. The staging was well conceived and, in the main, the score was well sung although I felt, at times, that the chorus could have done with one or two more voices. This was only one of two productions from the Greater Manchester area in this year's G & S Festival at Buxton - and the company did not let the region down!
Hilarion (Colin Wardale) sang well as did his two friends, Cyril (Eric Cymbir) and Florian (Anthony Noden). These two also injected a modicum of humour into this well-disciplined show. King Hildebrand was played by Paul Richmond. We had what was, for me, one of the finest portrayals of King Gama I have ever seen; excellent timing, spoken with clarity and projected so well that no one could say they couldn't hear. This was an excellent performance by David Kay.
Gama's three sons, Arac (Mark Watkins), Guron (Philip Sweet) and Scynthius (Stephen Hill) all did well. It was nice to see the variations in height which, in itself, gave an opportunity for comedy and which the three made the most of.
The ladies, too, gave some memorable performances. Deborah Nelson gave a controlled performance of Lady Psyche. Janice Rendel as Lady Blanche's daughter excelled, and her solo "Death To the Invader" was super. But her mother - what a tour-de-force this was. If Gama was the outstanding male performance then Alison Davis as Blanche was the female version. This was a big performance in both voice and stature. It was a Savoyardian Peggy Mount but blessed with a singing voice that was wrapped in a velvet glove.
Then we had Ida. This was a performance of some quality and the change from haughtiness to being just a woman in love was always regal. What made it for me were the lovely comic touches that Eileen Jackson gave the characters in act three.
It was splendid night at what is one of the country's most beautiful theatres. (Colin Magenty)