What NODA thought …
As you know from our Home page, we had a visit from Dorothy Johnstone, the Regional Rep for District 6, at our Saturday matinée. She enjoyed the show, and provided this official report:
Both Gilbert and Sullivan considered ‘The Yeomen of the Guard’ to be their best work and it is certainly one of my G&S favourites.
A first class orchestra immediately settled the audience with the strong, stirring overture. This coupled with an open stage revealing a striking Tower Green set the scene for what was a most colourful production with some strong choral singing and fine individual performances.
This is not a ‘happy ever after’ story but one of confusion and heartache. Claire Turnbull who played Elsie Maynard, the strolling singer, has a soaring soprano voice which captivated the audience particularly in her number ‘Tis Done, I Am A Bride’ when she has secretly married the dashing Colonel Fairfax. Chris Young with his relaxed stage presence and gentle, lyrical tenor voice was well suited to this role.
The strolling jester Jack Point lives in the hope that someday he and Elsie will marry. Robin Ozog who had perfectly clear diction throughout his patter songs successfully developed his character from the lively, agile jester through his mixed emotions to his pathetic, tragic ending. The staging of the final scene with its dimmed lighting and the chorus turning their backs and ignoring poor Jack Point was most effective.
Liz Landsman was a formidable Dame Carruthers who managed to virtually blackmail Sergeant Meryll (Ian Osborne) into marrying her. Susanne Horsburgh gave an excellent, feisty performance as the coquettish Phoebe playfully taunting the doltish Wilfred Shadbolt ( George Alexander) who extracted the comedy from his role in a bumbling manner. Other principal characters were all well played and well sung.
As well as having a very strong principal cast, this company also has a vocally strong male and female chorus who produced a wonderful, harmonious sound. The reprise of the opening chorus after the curtain calls reinforced this. Sullivan writes some beautiful ensemble numbers. In Act 2 ‘Strange Adventure’ ‘When a Wooer Goes a Wooing’ and ‘A Man Who Would Woo A Fair Maid’ had an excellent blend of voices and were neatly choreographed.
Good use was made of the different levels in the Tower. This was a most enjoyable, polished production which I was very pleased to have been invited to attend.