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All Male Iolanthe
July 10th - July 14th
Torches flash in the darkness as a party of naughty schoolboys adventure into the magical surroundings of an old theatre. Amid all the backstage paraphernalia they discover a Narnia-like wardrobe and a dusty copy of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe. What follows is pure magic!
‘If you remember the impact of Joe Papp’s ground-breaking Pirates of Penzance 30 years ago then this is a similar moment: a tired operetta kicked into new, fizzing life.’ The Observer
Universally regarded as Sir Arthur Sullivan’s most beautiful score, Iolanthe is a topsy-turvy love story between the most unlikely of couples… fairies and members of the House of Lord’s! Sasha Regans’ all male, award-winning company return with their best received production. Her inimitable inventiveness combined with Gilbert and Sullivan’s inherent barminess make for an un-missable night out.
Iolanthe became the fourth consecutive major success for Gilbert and Sullivan. It was the first work to premiere at the Savoy and first new theatre production in the world to be illuminated entirely with electric lights!
★★★★★ “In spite of all the spectacle that the huge forces at The Coliseum are able to bring, Sasha Regan’s All Male Iolanthe wins hands down for originality, charm and even – dare I say it – acting” Plays To See
★★★★★ “Spell-binding and nothing short of a triumph. One of the finest works on the British musical stage” British Theatre
“Excellently clear and the physicality hilarious. A joy.” Libby Purves
★★★★ ‘A comic pleasure… Irresistible!’ The Guardian – Critic’s Choice
★★★★ ‘Entirely enchanting.’ BEST OF THE YEAR 2010 – Critic’s Choice Time Out
★★★★ ‘Gloriously fresh and inventive’ The Independent
Production Photos by Harriet Buckingham
Ticket price includes a £1 contribution to our heritage fund.
Brilliantly bonkers, beautifully sung. A highly entertaining romp, be sure to see this production.
Fabulous night watching all male Iolanthe last night! Technically the show is brilliant; intelligent set, glorious costumes, perfect diction and amazing vocal ranges.
The boys gave their all! Limitless energy and superb comic timing 🙂
I knew nothing about Iolanthe, only went as I'd enjoyed the company's last two productions and I'm so glad I did!
Tonight will probably be a sparse audience due to a certain football match but make sure you catch this gem before the end of the week, you won't regret it!
The work of Gilbert & Sullivan is back at Malvern this week but not the standard Gilbert & Sullivan that you might expect (unless you have seen Sacha Regan's productions before!)
Having already tackled the likes of HMS Pinafore and The Mikado, the company has this time set its sights on the pair's fourth consecutive success, Iolanthe (originally entitled Perola for copyright reasons), which was also the first new theatre production in the world to be illuminated entirely by electric lights.
Knowing that this is an all-male cast is one thing, but the cast also play characters not in the original show as it starts with a group of noisy schoolboys rampaging through the audience in the dark, eventually finding themselves on the stage of an old theatre and discovering a dusty copy of the musical story and a wardrobe though which the true cast emerge.
The story is, of course, rather nonsensical - a topsy-turvy love story between the most unlikely of couples… fairies and members of the House of Lord’s! The fact that this talented all-male cast have to play both fairies and members of Parliament suddenly does not seem strange at all!
So it is that we have a Fairy Queen who would not be out of place in pantomime, Iolanthe who has been banished because she married a mortal, her offspring Strephon who, it turns out, is fairy only from the waist upwards and his potential love-match Phyllis. The other question is "who's the daddy"…
All is revealed in this entertaining and imaginatively-staged satirical romp where the cast can certainly hit the high notes when required. And whilst the tunes may not be well-known household favourites in the vein of those from other shows, such as Three Little Maids From School Are We and I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General, they nonetheless are the background to the story and make it easy to follow amidst all of the absurdity happening on stage, all done to the single accompaniment of a pianist.
Indeed, the one aspect of the show which you can believe is anchored firmly in reality is the ridiculous behaviour of the peers of the realm, which offers portraits of Queen Victoria, John Brown (her personal servant and ‘close companion’), Lord Randolph Churchill (reformist Tory) and William Gladstone (Liberal PM of the day).
Some things never change…!
An excellent, high octane performance from all the ensemble. A pertinent romp through Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe. Do go and see it
Went to this on a last minute whim as fancied a night out. We were so impressed. Totally echo what Ann has said above. The standard of singing, dancing, choreography was excellent. We would certainly see this group again in another production. Hope they come again. One of the best evenings we’ve spent.
Entertainment at it’s best. Great singing, energetic cast. Full of humour
This show deserves a packed house
Gilbert and Sullivan would appreciate your adaption. Thank you
Professional, Enjoyable , nonsense.