The Yeoman of the Guard

Date 18th March 2017
Society Hereford Gilbert & Sullivan Operatic Society
Venue Courtyard Theatre, Hereford
Type of Production Musical
Director Alistair Donkin
Musical Director Alan Durman


Author: Louise Hickey

Although this is not my usual starting point, I think it is only fair to say what an amazing and beautiful set was used for this wonderful production of The Yeoman of the Guard. To say it ‘set the scene’ would be an understatement. The positioning and discipline of the cast which gave an amazing tableau effect was utterly delightful. The lighting was spot on and the sound fabulous; I heard every word whether sung or spoken. The quality of the singing was outstanding as usual and the strength of the Ladies and Men’s chorus a joy. I particularly liked the opening when the cast were visible during the overture, for novices of Gilbert and Sullivan it was a great way to get their attention.

Rachel Roper is so talented and very funny and gave a terrific performance as Phoebe. She played the charactor with just the right amount of humour and her interaction with Cliff Spooner, at his best as the disgusting Wilfred Shadbolt, was hilarious. Gill Haslam as Dame Curruthers also used humour to her advantage and, of course, got to sing the best G&S contralto solo ever. Russell Painter returned for another show and was as terrific as ever; his rendition of ‘Is life a boon?’ was simply beautiful.  

Father and daughter Alan and Laura Durman played Jack Point and Elsie Maynard. The part suited Laura perfectly and Alan was simply outstanding. His death scene at the end was so moving that they were many a tear shed by the audience. I found the closing tableau of Jack Point lying in place with the cast standing around him so moving yet magnificent.

Finally it is lovely to see young ladies and gentlemen in the cast who obviously enjoyed being a part of this wonderful production. There are some fantastic voices amongst them and I hope to see and hear more from them in the future.