Letting trumpets loudly bray

Iolanthe

The Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company

Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton

****

YET another treat from this outstanding company gave Gilbert & Sullivan fans a lively bonus with some sparkling wit and crafty digs at the political system.

It’s a crazy plot even by G&S standards as a group of fairies get involved with pompous members of the House of Lords, but the humour is infectious and the music and costumes a delight.

The story opens with the return of Iolanthe who had been banished from fairyland for marrying a mortal, but complications arise when her half-fairy son Strephon falls in love with Phyllis, a ward of court to the Lord Chancellor.

Simon Butteriss, who also directed the production, gave a wonderful fun-packed performance as the Lord Chancellor, ably supported by the veteran Bruce Graham (Earl of Mountararat) and Oliver White (Earl Tolloller).

Charlotte Pearson impressed as Iolanthe, Claire Lees (Phyllis) sang beautifully and Simon Pontin sparkled as Strephon, creating a problem or two after being entered into parliament.

Sylvia Clarke excelled in the role of Queen of the Fairies, while Miles Horner offered a more comic version of Private Willis, though surely the Grenadier Guards sentry should always have a rifle.

The company end their Black Country visit with The Mikado on Saturday.

Paul Marston 

26-06-14

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