MD: Ken Mathews Directors: Keith Armitage & Peter Shreyhane
Although almost 130 years since its premiere in the Savoy theatre London, Iolanthe is as satirical today as it probably was on opening night. G&S Operetta’s now being out of copyright allows a society’s director a chance to tinker with the script and add a few little witticisms of the day. Peter Shreyhane and Keith Armitage (also excelling in the demanding role of Lord Chancellor) took advantage of this to the full in this story of a band of fairies (Suffragettes in this production) at odds with the House of Peers which allows half mortal/half fairy Strephon (Mathew Goode) to enter the Commons as a coalition candidate in his own right! Anne Phillips sang superbly in the title role of cast out fairy Iolanthe.
Fairy Queen (Kayleigh Oliver) looking like Queen Victoria held her troupe together with a commanding alto voice whilst Phyllis (Laura Crawley) had just the correct ‘edginess’ about her role whilst temporarily being courted by both Lords Tolloller and Mountararat (Phil Hall and Pail Blakey respectively). Private Willis (Paul Bates) the grenadier guardsman father of Phyllis was a perfect foil for his love interest of the Fairy Queen.
A 19 strong Orchestra was directed by Ken Mathews and it was a pleasure to hear their controlled melodies. A very strong chorus (including 15 men) was a delight as always to listen to with their robust four part harmonies.
I’m already looking forward to this societies summer concerts!