Cast and Crew
|RUNNER-UP||Best Artistic Direction in a Musical||Rita Whitelaw||NODA|
'The very best to be seen on an amateur stage'
This is a very Gilbertian eye view on the merits or otherwise of the anglicisation of the far flung colonies of the Empire. Having seen Utopia on two previous occasions I have to admit my understanding of the plot was very LIMITED. The surgical incisions to the libretto made by producer, Rita Whitelaw dispensed with a lot of irrelevance and at last the light began to dawn.
There were also many up-to-date touches embedded in the libretto which added to the overall effect. Gilbert had also used many snippets from previous operas even Capt Corcoran (Tom Pickering), and one of the 'Flowers of Progress' had temporarily escaped from HMS Pinafore. His cohorts were the very upright First Life Guard Capt Fitzbattleaxe (John Sangster), Lord Chamberlain Lord Dramleigh (Steve Hope), Company Promoter Mr Goldbury (Rob Peace), Queen's Counsel, Sir Bailey Barre (Jim Fletcher) and County Councillor Mr Blushington (Andrew Harper).
The English contingent was completed by Lady Sophy (Ann O'Shea), governess to the Utopian princesses. Of the Utopian islanders we had a resplendent King Paramount (Ken Rees), Tarara (Alan Ruscoe), the Public Exploder who was petrified of his own explosives. Calynx (Clive Green) adorned in grass skirt and tailcoat and two scheming wise men Scaphio (Allen Christey) and Phantis (Colin Magenty) intent on maintaining the status quo.
The Utopian ladies consisted of Princess Zara (Lindsay Farnworth), Princess Nekaya (Eleanor Molloy) and Princess Kalyba (Hannah Carolan).
I have purposely refrained from individual comment because, in the main, both principals and chorus alike offered the very best to be seen on an amateur stage. The ubiquitous patter song, this time for seven people, was excellent whilst the unaccompanied number was a joy to listen to.
Scenery and costumes were of a high standard and the whole production sat on the back of an excellent orchestra under the baton of musical director, Elaine Lowe.
This was a creditable production of this little performed opera.
This review will appear soon.