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Director Helen Fieldsend
adapted from Alistair Donkin's 2016 production.
Musical Director Steve Rayner
This is Sale G & S Society's third production at the Lowry Studio Theatre. These productions have shown just how much the society has learned about the space. The company is realising what a today's Gilbert and Sullivan audience's expect from the shows, and this knowledge by the company can only help secure its future.
There was a good house with a great number of young people enjoying and laughing at the words of Gilbert, and the music of Sullivan.
It is now a long time since the custodians of the Savoy Operas, The Doyly Carte Opera Company's demise. The traditional Doyly Carte presentation was the main attraction and eventually its Achilles heel. Since the days when the Doyly Carte company administered the rights, there have been many interpretations of the works, from changing ethnicity to all male castings. A director should always be asking, “Who is my audience?” This adapted revival delivered a contemporary take on the original production. The choreography with the screens for principal character entrances and exits was so well executed. Fan, and hand work, again had been very well-rehearsed. All the characters reached out to the audience and held their attention throughout. Each member of the cast supported each other, which is so important.
The costumes provided by “The Boyz” were exceptional. The ladies' wigs, and Bethany Murray stylised make-up, completed the overall look of the Gilbertian Japan.
I think the beautiful score is always better expressed in its orchestrated parts. However, the four musicians of the “Titipu Town Band” delivered a pleasing sound.
Greater responsibility was given to the ladies and gentlemen of the chorus. They were treated as other characters. This made more of their included scenesand which contributed much to the overall look and drama of the production.
Principal work was as rich and colourful as you would expect from this society. Matthew Callaghan’s, Pish-Tush, to Ken Brook, as the punishment-fitting-the-crime, Mikado. Janice Rendel’s light dusting of humour as Pitti-Sing, and Jessica Baldwin-Snow’s charming, Peep-Bo.
The self-confessed blood thirsty Katisha was in the safe hands of Helen Fieldsend. She commanded the stage and was a good foil for Ko-Ko. The cheap tailor was well portrayed by Peter England. The audience much enjoyed Ko-Ko’s present day “Little List”.
Lord High Everything Else, Pooh-Bar, characterised with all the pomp of officialdom by Anthony “no money no grovel “Noden.
This leaves us with the story’s lovers, Yum-Yum and Nanki-Poo. Louise Rayner brought innocence and a fetching naivety to the role. Her Wandering Minstrel, was convincingly played by Danny Shaw.
Here we had a fresh and interesting new look which only went to prove that these works can still deal their magic.