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September, 2003
Review: Carry on Gilbert & Sullivan
The cast of Gilbert & Sullivan
The cast of Carry on Gilbert & Sullivan
Simon Tavener, a Gilbert & Sullivan purist, approached 'Carry on Gilbert & Sullivan' with caution but was pleasantly surprised by Opera Anywhere's modern take on the musical geniuses work.


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Carry on Gilbert & Sullivan is playing at
The Old Fire Station Theatre on
Saturday September 13.

I have to admit to a certain passion for the works of Gilbert and Sullivan.

They were masters of their respective arts and have influenced the development of music theatre over the past 130 years.

The cast of Carry on Gilbert & Sullivan
The cast get fruity during Carry on Gilbert & Sullivan.

Thus it was with a certain trepidation that I approached this production by Opera Anywhere. Taking the unusual step of showing a series of auditions leading to a dress rehearsal of an unknown Gilbert and Sullivan opera.

The performance was a welcome mixture of popular pieces from the Savoy Operas.

Clearly the performers were enjoying themselves throughout the evening. It was a chance to let their hair down and sing some great pieces of music.

However, at times, the plot was not so much thin as self-contradicting.

Luckily this did not seem to mar the audience's appreciation of the show.

There were a number of very strong voices in evidence. Julie Ketch (a veritable Hyacinth Bucket in the making) gave a sparkling rendition of 'Poor Wandering One'. I enjoyed the lyric tenor of David Naylor-Gray. Special mention must also be made of Valerie Watt who combined a strong stage presence with a commanding vocal performance.

At times the lyrics were altered to help fit the plot - often to great comic effect.

Regretfully this was not done consistently throughout the evening and certain numbers fell slightly flat as a result.

Credit must go to Peter Cowdrey who, as Musical Director, was a marvel on the keyboard. He kept the evening going with pace and wit.

By Simon Tavener

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