Gilbert & Sullivan’s ‘fairy opera’ to light up JoRo theatre
The Jorvik Gilbert and Sullivan Company return to the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, this week (September 18-20) with their fully-staged production of Iolanthe.
Written at the height of their creative powers, Gilbert and Sullivan’s “fairy opera” is regarded by many as their best collaboration.
Iolanthe sees the House of Lords and the political system come in for criticism, with the suggestion that the peerage should no longer be hereditary, but obtainable by “competitive examination”.
Strephon, an Arcadian shepherd and son of Iolanthe, wants to marry Phyllis, a Ward of Chancery, but Phyllis’s guardian, the Lord Chancellor, and half the Peers in the House of Lords are in love with her and are determined to prevent the marriage from taking place.
Strephon, however, has a secret: he is half a fairy and the Fairy Queen (played by Maggy Lamb, right) is a powerful enemy. Soon the peers and the fairies are war…
Lucy Thomson-Smith, who has performed in and directed a number of Gilbert and Sullivan works, has joined the company to direct their latest production.
“I was extremely excited to be given the opportunity to direct Iolanthe,” said Lucy, who recently directed Carmen in Tales Of Love at the Guildhall.
“Having performed in my university’s production and helped out on another rendition backstage, I was already familiar with the show and the possibilities it offered.
“Iolanthe presents a wonderful opportunity to bring some fresh ideas to a modern audience, whilst still remaining faithful to the core themes and aims of the original.
“I hope everyone – be they a die-hard purest or a newcomer – will find it an enjoyable production.”
Musical director Matthew Collins said the company was looking forward to returning to the Joseph Rowntree Theatre following very well-received performances of HMS Pinafore in 2012, and Ruddigore last year.
“With a 20-strong orchestra in the pit complementing a talented cast, the story, which suggests reforms for the House of Lords, is still very relevant today and shows how far (or not) we have come in 130 years!” he said.
Iolanthe by Jorvik Gilbert and Sullivan Company is at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre from Thursday, September 18 to Saturday, September 20, at 7.30pm, with a 2.30pm Saturday matinee
For more details and tickets, see the company webpage, or book tickets via the Theatre Royal