BE adventurous. Go to the Garrick and you're sure to enjoy the award-winning Sale Gilbert and Sullivan Society's production of the less well-known operetta, Ruddygore.
In a parody of a Victorian melodrama, Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd (Andrew Wilson) conceals his identity for ten years until it is unmasked and he is forced to commit a crime a day because of a family curse.
This leads to an eerie scene set in the portrait gallery of Ruddygore Castle where pictures of Sir Ruthven's ancestors step from their frames to haunt him leaving him trembling in terror on the floor. However way out the plot, Ruddygore is still a ghost story and this scene is suitably spooky both musically and dramatically.
The leading role of Rose Maybud is captured well by Helen Fieldsend, torn between her love of Sir Ruthven and the flirty sailor Richard Dauntless, played by the all-singing, all-dancing, Paul Richmond.
Rose's habit of consulting her etiquette book just as her passions are being aroused is a hoot and Helen does it in a clear voice both spoken and sung.
The arch-baddie, Sir Despard Murgatroyd, Ruthven's brother, (Tony Noden) revels in his black-cloaked role sending a shiver down the spine every time he appears.
He eventually gets together with mad Margaret (Eileen Jackson) whom he manages to tame but not until Eileen has convinced us that she really is away with the fairies.
Sale Gilbert and Sullivan Society understand the thinking behind Ruddygore and put it across in a colourful, fun way. Their singing, both choral and individual is second to none and the costumes, especially Rose Maybud's wedding dress, are beautiful.
NODA Review - John Flay
Director – Alistair Donkin
Musical Director – Peter England
This melodramatic piece of comic operetta was splendidly carried off and was well received by the audience.
Costumes were suitable and the technical aspects were good, especially the effects in Dame Hannah’s song ‘Sir Rupert Murgatroyd His Leisure’.
The scenery reflected the old D’Oyly Carte touring set; staging was of that era and the direction was traditional.
There was strong work from the chorus and the professional bridesmaids were led by Zorah played by Janice Rendel.
The two would-be-lovers, Robin Oakapple, portrayed by Andrew Wilson, who gave a realistic and recognisable character, and Helen Fieldsend, as pretty Rose Maybud who was in excellent voice and has good stage presence showed perfect “etiquette”
The miscreant of the piece, Dick Dauntless, was captured in Paul Richmond’s performance.
District visitors Mr and Mrs Despard Murgatroyd (Tony Noden and Eileen Jackson) showed us one of their blameless dances and how Basingstoke has hidden meaning.
Ian Whitfield sang well as Sir Roderic but was too static vocally for Gilbert’s excellent dialogue whilst the rest of the supporting cast, with a special mention to Robert Wardle as Old Adam, was well cast.