Review: Iolanthe Swaffham Bulbeck Summer Theatre, Downing Farm, Swaffham Bulbeck June 13

Amateur companies often lack sufficient depth of talent and rehearsal time to pull off credible productions. Swaffham Bulbeck Summer Theatre’s (SBST) production of Gilbert and Sullivans’ ‘Iolanthe’ exhibited a range and depth of talent rarely found elsewhere and the odd opening night glitch aside a well conceived production deserving of honing over a very long run.

Full credit for this joyous show must go to the Director Lynne Bulllen and Conductor Angela Roebuck. Between the well-timed comic acting and choreography on the stage and the beautifully executed score both these ladies brought the best out of the talents in SBST.

But what talents! The orchestra was tight and bright lifting the score with engaging rhythm. Anna Murgatroyd soared above the music as Phyllis (and should consider singing Mozart if she hasn’t already) whilst Lucas Elkin filled the part of Lord Chancellor as if born to do it. With Richard Morris (a wonderful comic actor as Earl Mountararat) and William Hale as Earl Tolloller the three reprised ‘If you go in you’re sure to win’ twice in the second act to audience acclaim.

At this point your reviewer must confess that Gilbert and Sullivan has often failed to impress me in the past. It’s a delicate art pulling off comic ‘opera’ but SBST triumphed here and I know where to go to see G&S productions anew. A real find.

Andrew Cann

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