Director Stephen Andrews has cleverly updated Gilbert and Sullivan’s satire on the pretentious values of the nineteenth century aesthetic movement. The 20 or so lovesick maidens are clad in fabulous 1970s hippy costumes featuring every colour in the rainbow.
Angela Drake is Patience, a humble waitress dressed in conservative black and white who steals the heart of groovy charlatan poet Reginald Bunthorne, played by Stephen Godward. Bunthorne’s attempt to seduce Patience with poetry is laugh out loud funny. You have to see the loudness of his costume to appreciate his comment, “I am not as bilious as I look”. Drake’s singing range as ever is impressive on songs such as, Love is a Plaintive Song.
The soldiers looked great in their matching red tunics, black boots and red gauntlets but sadly too “last year darling” for the ladies. Michael Tipler is the best of the bunch as Colonel Calverley. He is constantly wide-eyed with rosy cheeks, a handlebar moustache and a grin.
Christine Stubbs is on good form as Lady Jane. She looks in the mirror and despairs at ever finding love again singing, Sad is that woman’s lot She shares a terrific song with Godward, So go to him and say to him: featuring the catchy “sing boo to you”. This concerns meeting with super cool punk rocker, Archibald Grosvenor, Timothy Whitehead, to call a truce.
The set is good and the musical accompaniment was fluid. The chorus provided good backing for the leads. Now where are my tinted glasses and flares for that 70s night?