20th February 2014
Godalming Borough Hall
Type of Production
Author: Mrs Betty Haslam
Princess Ida opened at the Savoy Theatre on the 5th of January 1884 and was billed as a respectful operatic perversion of Tennyson’s “Princess”
Director Pat O’Connell’s colourful and vibrant version of this G &S musical was notable for its excellent acting, singing and a strong ensemble. King Hildebrand (Richard Arthur) was larger than life commanding the stage with his wonderful strong voice and superb acting. King Gama (Simon Cakebread) fitted in to the part extremely well, his daughter Princess Ida (Jen Sanders) who played the part of the principal of a woman’s university and has forsworn all men, she gave a strong performance displaying her singing and considerable acting ability with an extensive range of emotions. Enjoyable acting and singing from Prince Hilarion (Richard Hales), betrothed to Princess Ida, was ably assisted by Cyril (John Corkindale)and Florian((Peter Lucas), the trio were well received by the audience both in their singing and comic acting. Ida’s warrior brothers Arac (Hammy Sparks), Guron (Piers Plummer) and Scynthius (Paul Tickner) were very good giving an enjoyable humorous performance ably assisted by their costumes! Alexandra Lawrence was splendid as Lady Psyche as was Zoe Avern’s Melissa, her ‘Death to the Invader’ song with the chorus was a highlight of the show.
Act 11 is recognised as one of the best of Sullivan’s musical repertoire with a seeming unendless succession of duets, trios and quartets which were magically performed. Lady Blanche (Nora Price) gave an impressive performance throughout and brought a tear to the eye of the audience at the final curtain. Strong support from the ensemble, a well drilled chorus both musically and visually entertained a packed audience. Musical Director Robin Wells’ sympathetic conducting helped the orchestra achieve its usual excellent standard.
Jill O’Regan and her back stage team, Lighting Design Alexander Lyon, with asst John Pibworth. Scenery Paul Lazell, and Wardrobe Mistress Geraldine Melhuish MBE. All contributed to the colourful settings. Costumes from The Costume Store.