REVIEW: Iolanthe, West Norfolk Gilbert & Sullivan Society, King’s Lynn Arts Centre
It was off to those twin fairylands of the dingly-dell and Westminster as WNGSS staged a new production of Iolanthe from Thursday to Saturday.
This is one of the most satiric of WS Gilbert’s librettos, poking fun in particular at the House of Lords (“When Wellington thrashed Bonaparte, As every child can tell, The House of Peers, throughout the war, Did nothing in particular, And did it very well”).
It is the usual world of topsy-turveydom where with a little magic a love-struck shepherd can become Prime Minister.
Iolanthe (Jessica Abbott) begins the evening banished to a pond by the Queen of the Fairies (Julie Bjerregaard) for the sin of marrying a mortal.
Released from her bondage she also tell the rest of the fairy ring that she also has a son Stephron (Lawrence Thackeray).
He is fairy (“to the waist down) but dare not tell that to his love Phyllis (Freya Brunton), who happens to be a ward of the Lord Chancellor (John Torr) – who also happens to harbour feelings for her too, along with his fellow peers Mountararat (Andrew Masterson) and Tolloller (Andy Hiles).
Very much an ensemble piece with less solo pieces than other G&S, Freya and Lawrence impressed in the lead roles although Julie Bjerregaard did a passable turn as a Mrs Thatcher-style Queen of the Fairies.
Well done to all on a first-night (Thursday) interuppted by happenings off stage. Mark Leslie