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In true G&S tradition, a light-hearted look at the tangled web woven when an impecunious Grandee marries his daughter to a prince at the age of 6 months, a fact which neither knows. The prince then disappears and the ensuing muddle sees the resolution of the tale to the satisfaction of all concerned!

Although staged in a traditional way, there was plenty of humour in this production, calling on some topical references, which refreshed some of the more dated references.

The set was well constructed and enabled the cast to move around it well, I liked the effect of the two gondolas against the back drop apparently moving gently in the water, little touches like that lift a production.

Musically the production was good, and Sue Trost brought out the best in the cast, with some good harmonies and singing from the ensemble, whilst principals were of a good standard and delivered their various numbers well. I would have liked more depth in sound from the keyboards to support the violins.  

Director and choreographer Graham Breeze mostly showed a good understanding of the capabilities of his cast, and I particularly liked the energy and enthusiasm of the Cachucha.  It was a stretch to get the whole cast moving on the small stage, but it gave an impression of movement and gaiety, with lively faces.

The opening ladies ensemble was charming, and they certainly smiled their way through, which allowed the audience to get a good feel to the production from the outset.

I felt the costumes were a bit hit and miss, they were colourful and some were extravagant, but attention to detail was needed in the wearing of both costumes and wigs. The Duke, Duchess, Casilda and Don Alhambra all had fantastic and well-dressed wigs.  I know a lot of people think this is nit-picking, but attention to detail helps make the production better.

I loved the trio of the Duke of Plaza Toro (Nigel Harvey) who had a wealth of expressions, his Duchess (Bryony Reynolds) who gave a lovely characterisation, and Elizabeth Bottone as their daughter Casilda, who sang beautifully. They created a good group, and were all very strong in both acting and singing.  

Peter Davis as Don Alhambra Del Bolero looked stunning (although his breeches needed gathering in below the knee to complete the picture), and sang his part well.  I just needed a little more emphasis to distinguish him from the other men, which would have given the production more depth and dimension.

Graham Breeze and Stephen Hoath as Marco and Guiseppe, the two gondoliers who might have been the prince, played well off each other, and achieved good relationships with their brides, played with winsomeness and flair by Emma Crew as Tessa and Claire Moore as Gianetta.

Luiz was nicely played by Ian Boughton, he achieved a charming relationship with Casilda, and eventually turned out to be the prince, which was good, as they were in love anyway!

There were some good lighting effects, particularly when Inez revealed who the prince was – Sue Wookey always brings such good characterisation, and although this was a small part it was important to the plot and very telling, with the main lighting dimmed and a concentration of light on Inez, giving it more dramatic intent.

The other named parts were small but nicely played.

Overall a good traditional production, with some strong principal performances.

Putteridge Bury Gilbert & Sullivan Society


review date: 24th March 2018

Queen Mother Theatre, Hitchin

Director & Choreographer: Graham Breeze

MD: Sue Trost


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