|Date||6th March 2020|
|Society||Kirkcaldy G & S Society|
|Venue||Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy|
|Type of Production||G&S|
|Musical Director||John Howden|
Author: Mike Pendlowski
“The Gondoliers” has long been in my top three favourite G&S operettas. In particular, Gondoliers arguably boasts some of the happiest and most entertaining music from the pen of Sir Arthur. Tonight a bright open set welcomed us to the first act. A nod towards one of Kirkcaldy’s well-known family run takeaway businesses, was given in the café stage right!
The chorus supported by minor principals Antonio (Jack Archibald), Francesco (Paul Graham), Fiametta (Sinead Black) and Vittoria (Sharon Edgar), all acquitted themselves well, in what is probably Sullivan’s longest opening chorus. In this opening sequence we also meet the two leading Gondoliers in the story Marco (Nick Temperley) and Guiseppe (Tom Kelman), the latter obviously suffering voice problems this evening – but, nevertheless struggled through. Their wives, by choice (or luck!) resulted, of course, in Gianetta (Jilly Martin) and Tessa (Caroline Warburton). These two young ladies gave wonderful presentations of the new wives, both vocally and in their stage presence. Caroline’s “When a Merry Maiden Marries” and Jilly’s “Kind Sir You Cannot have the Heart”, being just two memorable cases in point.
The Ducal Party aka The Duke of Plaza-Toro (Michael McFarlane), The Duchess (Elaine Young), Casilda (Eliza Twaddle) and Luiz (Craig Rose) had unfortunately found the need to park their gondola some distance away from the set, allowing them some time to recover from canal-sickness before appearing in the Piazetta! With a considerable number of years of experience within this Ducal Party, it is not surprising that the performances were all of a very high standard. Casilda and Luiz’ duet was a delight to listen to, while, especially in Act Two, the Duke and Duchess’s comedy duet added to a wealth of fun in this Italian / Spanish romp. Elaine’s stentorian voice when (attempting!) to keep her spouse under control was not unexpected, but definitely welcome! Michael’s on-stage direction of Marco and Guiseppe in “I am a Courtier” was well-timed and generated some well-deserved audience reaction.
As Don Alhambra del Bolero, Robin Ożóg appeared in the garb of a Cardinal – appropriately, since over the centuries in Spain several Grand Inquisitors (aka Torturers) have indeed been Roman Catholic Cardinals. Robin, who also directed, sang and performed well, “There Lived a King” being an example of his experience on the stage. BTW, Robin has now performed all the male principal roles in this operetta!
Last but not least, we have the minor principal parts of Guillia (Amanda Gear) and Inez (Eleanor Hubbard). Both ladies made the most of these cameo roles, Inez, of course, bringing tonight’s entertainment to an end, by describing the mix-up of babies in their formative years. One can’t help thinking, that childcare in the days of Messrs Gilbert & Sullivan left much to be desired!
Many thanks KGASS, for your invite to Gondoliers 2020.