Iolan­the is great comic elec­tion year opera

The Tribune (NZ) - - ENJOY -

Gil­bert and Sul­li­van’s Comic Opera Iolan­the is soon to take to the boards at the Re­gent on Broad­way on Satur­day July 22 as part of a five-venue tour of the lower North Is­land.

Iolan­the is a fully staged and cos­tumed pro­duc­tion by Welling­ton G&S Light Opera, whose re­cent an­nual tours in­clude The Merry

Widow, The Gon­doliers and The Mikado. Hav­ing satirised the Public Ser­vice, Ad­mi­ralty and Po­lice, Gil­bert tar­gets the most Bri­tish of in­sti­tu­tions, the Houses of Par­lia­ment. The fal­li­bil­ity of the mor­tals we elect to gov­ern us is a peren­nial theme pre­sent­ing a rich mine of in­ep­ti­tude, en­act­ment of laws which lack com­mon sense, self-serv­ing be­hav­iour and the lim­i­ta­tions of party pol­i­tics…"When in the House, MPs di­vide… They’ve got to leave that brain out­side, and vote just as their leaders tell ’em to."

This late work by Gil­bert and Sul­li­van shows them at their best, with droll wit and en­chant­ing mu­sic rang­ing from the tender to the heights of pre­ten­tious ex­u­ber­ance. Mem­o­rable mu­sic in­cludes the Night­mare

Song and the March of the Peers. It’s a great comic opera for New Zealand’s elec­tion year.

Ex­pe­ri­enced Mu­si­cal Di­rec­tor Hugh McMil­lan con­ducts an en­thu­si­as­tic cast of 30 singers sup­ported by 24 or­ches­tral mem­bers play­ing Sul­li­van’s full orig­i­nal score.

Di­rec­tor John God­dard de­liv­ers Gil­bert’s hu­mour in spades, with the cast mak­ing the most of the richly-crafted li­bretto and some ju­di­cious con­tem­po­rary ref­er­ences. Chore­og­ra­pher Lia Pur­cell, who set last year’s strik­ing Merry Widow dance se­quences, has im­bued the fem­i­nine moves with grace, and the Peers with telling pom­pos­ity com­bined with a hint of Monty Pythonesque be­hav­iour.

The story re­volves around a pair of young lovers Strephon and Phyl­lis. Phyl­lis is a ward of court un­der the au­thor­ity of the Lord Chan­cel­lor, and the peers from the House of Lords are smit­ten at the sight of her. They pro­claim their su­pe­ri­or­ity in a stir­ring march (Tan-tan-tara!) but dis­cover that blue blood has no power to at­tract true love.

When the blan­dish­ments of priv­i­lege fail them, they re­sort to knav­ish tricks to bring down wrath from above. Ar­ca­dian shep­herd Strephon, en­ters Par­lia­ment car­ry­ing ex­tra­or­di­nary pow­ers. The Lord Chan­cel­lor is also stricken but finds him­self hope­lessly com­pro­mised and in the mem­o­rable

Night­mare Song, he re­veals the agony of his po­si­tion. The con­tra­dic­tions are re­solved by ju­di­cial and le­gal ex­pe­di­en­cies of a sus­pect kind so that all may live hap­pily ever after.

Lords Tol­loller and Mount Ararat (Kevin O’Kane and David McKen­zie) re­turn to Palmer­ston North after for­mer years of lo­cal stage ap­pear­ances.

Iolan­the is at the Re­gent on Broad­way on Satur­day July 22. Book at Tick­etDirect.

Strephon (An­drew Mankowski) and Phyl­lis (Karishma Thanawala) rec­on­cile and are to­gether again in Ac­t2of Iolan­the.

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