Malvern Theatres


Love makes the world go round and what better example of this than in Sasha Regan’s Iolanthe at Malvern Theatres.

Immerse yourself in a world where fairies and members of the House of Lords unite their hearts in this hilarious tongue in cheek Gilbert and Sullivan opera to make you laugh out loud and be left wanting more.

This topsy-turvy love story begins when a group of naughty schoolboys run through the auditorium in the darkness armed with torches. Backstage in an old theatre they discover a dusty copy of Iolanthe that simply can’t be put down and when fairies emerge singing ‘Tripping Hither, Tripping Thither’ from the Narnia-like wardrobe the magical telling comes to life in vibrant Technicolor.

Iolanthe, performed by Christopher Finn, has been banished from Fairyland for 25 years after marrying a mortal but finally the other fairies persuade the Fairy Queen, Richard Russell Edwards, to allow her to escape the frogs.

In this time away from Fairyland Iolanthe has raised her half mortal, half fairy son Strephon, Richard Carson. His top half is fairy and his bottom half is mortal so when he falls in love and wishes to marry Phyllis, Joe Henry, the House of Lords object as they want her to themselves, even though they know nothing at this point of his double life.

Iolanthe comes to the rescue to help the wedding go ahead but ends up complicating matters when fiancé Phillis thinks Strephon’s mother to be his lover as she appears younger than him as fairies simply don’t age.

Act 2 begins with Private Willis, Duncan Sandilands, as the bass singer, quite a contrast to the high notes sung by the fairies, with ‘When All Night Long a Chap Remains’.

You’ll be pleased to know that there is a happy ending and the laws are eventually changed so that fairies and mortals can live together in peace and harmony.

The choreography of this production is so slick by Mark Smith and the whole show had me in stitches and was thoroughly entertaining throughout. Every part mattered and the all-male cast stood out individually with special mentions for Celia, Dominic Harbison, and Leila, Lee Greenaway (also the associate director). To 14-07-18

Emma Trimble


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