The Gondoliers

Date 25th October 2018
Society Bookham Light Operatic Society
Venue Fetcham Village Hall
Type of Production G&S
Director Jackie Shearer
Musical Director Roger Wilman
Choreographer Cill Eve


Author: Kay Rowan

The Gondoliers – One of Gilbert and Sullivan’s finest Savoy operas takes the audience into the realms of Venice  in the late 18th century.  The complicated plot involves two gondoliers who have fallen in love and married their girls only to find out that one of them has been betrothed to Casilda, the daughter of the Duke of Plaza-Toro.  She in turn has fallen in love with her father’s attendant, Luiz.  After a complicated twist of events it turns out that Luiz is indeed the son of the King of Barataria and takes his rightful title with Casilda at his side.  The satire of class distinction figures highly in the libretto together with matters pertaining to the “Stock Company Act”.  By setting the operetta far away from England Gilbert was able to make even sharper criticism of the nobility and the institution of the monarchy.  He was emboldened to direct sharper criticism at the nobility and the institution of the monarchy itself.  If only they were alive today!

Whilst the first act benefitted from the appearance of two gondola prows the second act scene was overseen by two wonderful thrones on a raised dais.  Considering the sizre of the stage these were in true proportion. The pianist, David Mortimer, was truly exceptional.  He not only played well but supported the singers most sympathetically - the added electronic touches of drums and fanfares only enhanced the performance.  This was, however, truly a team effort with everyone working so hard to create the right atmosphere, to perform at their best and present “The Gondoliers” as accurately as possible.  The principal line up was exceptionally well balanced with all the characterisations well developed and the singing outstanding

Jackie Shearer, the director, is to be congratulated on her clever use of the stage throughout and the obvious encouragement she gave her cast to use the whole of the acting area.  The choreography, by Gill Eve, for the songs, in particular the trios and quartets, was imaginative and original - a pleasure to watch.  The singing was exemplary – the Musical Director, Roger Wilman, had obviously worked long and hard to achieve such a high standard.

This was a polished performance by a very talented cast and crew.

Congratulations to everyone involved.