An evening of fun, wit and entertainment from the pens of W.S.Gilbert, Sir Arthur Sullivan, A.P.Herbert, Vivian Ellis and Bolton Rowe.
The programme features four fully-staged short theatrical works:
Trial by Jury (Gilbert and Sullivan); The Zoo (Rowe and Sullivan);
The Hooligan (Gilbert); Perseverance (‘Turbot and Vulligan’, aka A.P.Herbert and Vivian Ellis).
The Studio, Norden Farm Centre for the Arts; Thursday to Saturday May 5th to 7th, 7:45 p.m. Tickets £15 (£14 concessions)
Box Office: 01628 788997 (Tuesday 11am - 2pm and 2.30pm - 8pm Wednesday – Saturday 10am – 2pm and 2.30pm - 8pm Sunday 2.30pm – 8pm)
Trial by Jury is well-known to musical theatre-goers as a “companion piece” to full-length shows; a sparkling comedy, set around a breach of promise court case in a courtroom populated by a venal judge, cunning litigants, a cocky but stupid barrister, a pompous usher and rubber-necking jury. We are adding a very contemporary twist to the plot – you will be amazed!
The Zoo was one of Sullivan’s early collaborations with librettists other than Gilbert, this time B. C. Stephenson who wrote under the pen-name Bolton Rowe. The Zoo is a delightful piece of Victorian nonsense, taking every opportunity to spoof the conventions of “serious” opera – a pair of thwarted young lovers, a nice-but-dim aristocrat, the “pure maiden” of his fancy, and a crowd of highly unhelpful onlookers, all out for a Sunday stroll in Regent’s Park Zoo.
The Hooligan is W. S. Gilbert’s last straight play, written in 1911, the year of his death. It is a short character study dominated by the title character, a young man under sentence for a foul crime. If you don’t know anything of Gilbert’s work as a straight dramatist, then be prepared for a surprise.
Finally, Perseverance is our revelation for the audience. As fresh in its comedy and fun as when it was first staged in 1934, this is the shortest and wittiest spoof of G&S as you will find. Librettist A. P. Herbert was one of the great wits of his time (“Misleading Cases” etc) and Vivian Ellis a leading composer of light music, revue and musical comedy. In less than fifteen minutes they present a “full length” Gilbert plot, with every character type we know so well with music full of recognisable Sullivan signature. A joy!
Cast includes Angela Good, Cat Thompson, Charlie Seddon, David Hazeldine, Gareth Watkins, James Couper-Johnston, Jessica Smith, John Timewell, Kirsty Janusz, Liz Couper-Johnston, Lucy Seymour, Nathan Auerbach, Paul Seddon, Sarah Seddon and William Branston.
Director: Paul Seddon; Music Director: William Branston