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I really enjoyed this production, the overture was put to good use with a nicely thought out and executed ballet choreographed by Gordon Hodges, which got us into the mood of the production.
Alison Gibbs brought out so much humour, it put the production on another level for me, and I chuckled my way through, with the many topical references and different characterisations.
Costumes were very colourful and looked good. I liked the ladies wigs and hairstyles with their first costumes, and the headdresses with their second, creating a very different look – which helped the plot along.
The backdrops were almost fantasy-
Sound is never a problem at the QM – as no visible mics are used, and the band is heard as is, with no additional amplification that I could see.
Margaret Johnson had worked well with the cast to get some nice harmonies, and different expressions into the music, which helped make it seem fresh and interesting.
Paula Fraser again showed her accomplishment and understanding of G&S with her portrayal of Princess Ida – good relationships with the other cast members, and moments of tenderness with Hilarion, which contrasted well with her rather warlike tendencies otherwise.
I loved Hilarion as played by Gordon Hodges, he couldn’t have done more to bring this character to life. His interpretation worked well with Florian and Cyril, making them a nicely diverse trio. I thought Gordon also showed his very good singing voice off extremely well, with expressive elements and good phrasing.
Florian was the more mature and robust member of the trio, played very well by Stephen Hoath, trying to curb the eagerness of Hilarion and Cyril – I enjoyed his interpretation and singing.
Joe Emler was a super enthusiastic Cyril, such energy, which added so much to what could have been a rather insignificant character – a good all round portrayal, delivered with gusto.
David Crew played King Hildebrand, bringing his usual gravitas and understanding
to the role. Beautifully sung, and well-
Paul Kerswill gave King Gama an almost Shakespearean Richard III look – and a very mean character – which sat well against Hildebrand’s very upright stance – again creating good diversity. I loved the trio of soldiers, played by Ian Boughton, Barny Shergold and Peter Johnson – it must have been such fun, and their first song was particularly funny.
Jo Bigg created a lovely Lady Psyche, soft and interesting, whilst Margaret Snape was the strict and conniving Lady Blanche.
Lovely to see Emma and Katherine Crew on stage with their father, and creating two charming but different characters in Melissa and Chloe. I liked Katharine’s very warlike facial expressions, and Emma’s delightful smile.
Nicole Santelmann maintained a good accent as Sacharissa, whilst Ketina Orriss was an appealing Ada.
The ensemble including the dancers, were very well rehearsed, and their faces showed their enjoyment, which isn’t always evident in G&S, with Alison Gibbs creating simple but effective choreography for the cast.
Overall a very enjoyable evening – a good production with loads of humour and interest.
Putteridge Bury Gilbert & Sullivan Society
“PRINCESS IDA” review date: 7th April 2016
Queen Mother Theatre, Hitchin
Director/Choreographer: Alison Gibbs
MD: Margaret Johnson
Overture Choreography: Gordon Hodges