By W.S Gilbert & A. Sullivan

 

NODA Review by Frank Wooles

I caught up with our nomadic players on a bleak, rain-swept evening in March when they staged a one night only performance at the Blackwood Miners' Institute of one of the funniest and imaginative productions of Gilbert & Sullivan I have ever seen. The Queen of the Fairies, in an impressive and beautifully sung performance by Janet Holloway, ruled over the scariest troupe of punk fairies - which has made me wary of the dark patch at the bottom of my garden. The Peers chorus, with straw hats and blazers in lieu of coronets and ermine, enjoy a barbeque picnic presided over by the "Club Captain" Lord Chancellor in a deft and crisply articulated performance by Nigel Holloway. Strephon a writer of pop songs in love with Phyllis PA to the Lord Chancellor and a lady not averse to getting inebriated at the parliamentary bar were delightful performances of charm and ability by Peredur Huw Jones and Claire Davies. Private Willis played by Kevin Morgan appeared throughout as a sort of general factotum and singing hi "All Night Long" number whilst performing janitorial duties. Sullivan's music remained unscathed although Gilbert did have some modernisation and additions to his libretto. But no harm done. The wit was good and one could imagine that he may well have gone the same road were he writing the work in today's changed world. Full credit for the apt political content of Mountararat's "When Britain really ruled the waves", well delivered by Neil Davies and delightfully partnered by Ian Phillips as the other love struck peer Lord Tolloller. Two fine voices blending well. A break in the power to the keyboards was but a minor hesitation. the company continued unaccompanied for several numbers and in perfect tune. Singing throughout was of a high standard. Costumes matched the fun of the show and the staging, which had to adapt easily to differing venues, was attractive and effective. The audience was enthusiastic in their reception but did I, as a bit of a traditionalist enjoy the show? You bet I did.

 

Originally published Autumn 2001

 

 

The fairies

 

"one of the funniest and imaginative productions of Gilbert & Sullivan I have ever seen. The Queen of the Fairies, in an impressive and beautifully sung performance by Janet Holloway, ruled over the scariest troupe of punk fairies "

 

NODA