Review – The Gondoliers
TITLE: Huddersfield Gilbert and Sullivan Society at the LBT
BY: William Marshall
THE Gondoliers was one of the most successful of Gilbert and Sullivan’s collaborations and is full of noted Sullivanian melodies and Gilbertian absurdities.
When it comes to melodies we have the likesŠ of Take a Pair of Sparkling Eyes, beautifully performed Šwith customary poise by Paul Richmond as Marco, one of the of title characters, the other being Giuseppe, acted and sung with real panache by Leon Waksberg.
The Savoy Operas, for all their whimsy, do offer truly operatic opportunities to some of the cast and in this production we hear fine, soaring singing from Steven Greenwood, as Luiz, and Anna Trent, as Casilda, especially when they duetted on O Rapture.
But, of course, the story is full of WS Gilbert’s fabled topsy-turvydom and satirical sideswipes.
Thus, when the pair of Venetian gondolier brothers improbably become joint king ofŠ the realm of Barataria, they contrive to run it as a monarchy on strict republican principles.
The opera as a whole enables Gilbert to poke fun at Šthe preposterous pretensions and hypocrisies Šof the aristocracy and at fashionable ideas of social progress.
The chief purveyors of preposterousness in The Gondoliers are the Duke of Plaza Toro and his Duchess performed by Ian Grange and Celia Poole – G&S actors and singers par excellence.
The pair revealed all the absurdities of their characters without reducing them to grotesques.
We also had the mock gravitas of Bruce Merlin as the Grand Inquisitor and the lively singing and capriciousness of Elaine Richmond and Becky Gregson-Flynn as Gianetta and Tessa.
Needless to say, artistic director Graham Weston and Šmusical director Simon Ackroyd extracted good singing and movement from the large chorus which filled the stage at various junctures.
This enjoyable production of a key G&S show continues until Saturday, when there is also a matinee.