MD: Philip Hall Directors: Jennifer Moss & Richard Straw
Princess Ida opened at the Savoy Theatre on the 5 January 1884 and was billed as a respectful operatic perversion of Tennyson’s “Princess”. I was absolutely thrilled as ever to receive my invitation to see this first rate show performed by St Andrew’s Operatic Society. Director’s Jennifer Moss and Richard Straw ensured that this G&S operetta was delivered colourful and vibrant and maintained the exceptional standard that has become expected from St Andrews. A special mention for the nineteen piece orchestra under the baton of Philip Hall and accompanist Pam Bell who lead the orchestra and ensured that they played sympathetically without drowning out the cast on stage. Well done also to wardrobe who also ensured that the cast were adorned in the correct costumes and the technical team for the lighting.
The operetta was lively, and moved at a great pace with plenty of lovely ballads and the ubiquitous patter song which for me sounded fresh and melodious. Andrew Cunningham made an immediate impact as the very regal King Hildebrand his dictation was excellent throughout and delivered his musical numbers perfectly. Steven Aitchison as Prince Hilarion convinced us of his fears at meeting his bride in his assured solo “Today we Meet” great stage presence and an excellent performance. His friends Cyril played by Paul Blakey and Florian played by Simon McLoughlin added their own touches of humour, especially when they became young ladies, and delivered the musical number “I am a maiden” very strong and extremely funny. King Gama was perfectly characterised by Keith Armitage and left us in no doubt that he was a very disagreeable man, as were his three unrefined sons Arac, Guron and Scynthius played by Richard Straw, Alan Cormack and Colin Irvine who all gave excellent performances between these characters with strong vocals and acting. The ladies were the perfect match for the men and Laura Crawley gave a splendid impression of the man hating principal of the women’s institute for education at Castle Adamant, both of Laura’s solo numbers “Minerva and “I built upon a Rock” were beautiful sung with great expressions. Anna Maria McCloskey gave a fabulous portrayal as the domineering Lady Blanche who has designs of taking over the leaderships, I loved her musical number “Come Mighty Must”. Bernadette Trotter was splendid as Lady Psyche as was Jennifer Moss’s Melissa who gave us a great rendition of “Death to the Invader”. Mention also to Glynda Blackburn as Sacharissa, Susan Antcliff as Cloe and Kim Storey as Ada.
There was full bodied singing and stylised action from the Ladies and Gentlemen of the chorus who all delivered to a very high standard both musically and visually. For me the final song in Act 2 “Oh joy, our Chief is Saved” and the finale “With Joy abiding” demonstrated the strength of the choral singing. Well Done to everyone at St Andrews for yet another excellent performance.
Phillip Cunningham has kindly given us permission to post his photographs of the production. You’ll find them here.