Princess Ida

Date 21st March 2014
Society Hereford Gilbert & Sullivan Operatic Society
Venue The Courtyard, Hereford
Type of Production Musical
Director Alastair Donkin
Musical Director Alan Durman


Author: Louise Hickey MBE

It is many years since I saw Princess Ida and I had forgotten how lovely the music is. Obviously as with all Gilbert and Sullivan Operetta’s you have lovely ballads and the ubiquitous patter song but, perhaps because they are less well known, they sounded fresh and very melodious. The chorus was in fine voice and from the moment they hit the stage looked as if they were having a ball. The principal characters were well cast and the humour running throughout the performance was infectious. The three brothers played by Jim Smith, Jonathon Sayce and Gordon Auty looked like a trio of Tin Men from the Wizard of Oz but their choreographed routines were hilarious and well acted. Russell Painter gave a first class performance as Prince Hilarion; he has a lovely tenor voice. Ian Roper and Jason Ford were good as the Prince’s friends and added their own touches of humour, especially when they became ‘young ladies’. James Butterworth as King Hildebrand bickered well with Alan Durman as the unpleasant and conniving King Gama, the father of Princess Ida. Alan had the comedy patter song that has become his forte and he didn’t disappoint. The ladies were the perfect match for the men and Laura Durman gave a good impression of the man hating head of the woman’s first university until she was won over by the Prince. Rachel Roper was the strong and studious young lady who sorted everyone out and Gill Haslam, although battling with a head cold, gave a very funny performance as Lady Blanche who had designs on taking over the headship from Princess Ida. The supporting young ladies played by Leanne Player, Meriel Ford, Fiona Gordon-Smith and Pippa Butterworth all seemed to enjoy their battle with the young men they had always been urged to ‘do without’. And finally in Act three the expected outcome was achieved and everyone seemed happy with their lot. It was a very enjoyable evening, thank you.