The Yeomen of the Guard

Date 8th October 2015
Society Chesterfield Gilbert & Sullivan Society
Venue Pomegranate Theatre, Chesterfield
Type of Production Musical
Director Stephen Godward
Musical Director Andrew Marples
Choreographer Catherine Shepherd


Author: Joyce Handbury

The Yeomen of the Guard is a Savoy Opera, with music by Arthur Sullivan and 

libretto by W.S. Gilbert. It is set in the Tower of London during the 16th. century and musically the finest of all the G&S operas. To fulfil this challenge some excellent principal and support singers are paramount and we certainly were not disappointed on that score. The singing throughout was exceptional in all of the solos, duets, and other groupings. After the wonderfully executed overture the show opens with Phoebe sitting at a spinning wheel on a raised dais beautifully singing ‘When maiden loves she sits and sighs’. Julie Currey, as Phoebe Meryll, was totally delightful, she was so animated with lovely facial expressions and a perfect foil for the assignations afforded her by the lecherous head jailor, Wilfred Shadbolt, impressively played by Phil Aldread. Robert Spencer was outstanding as jester Jack Point. He embraced, in both singing and acting, the humour, the sentimentality and especially the anguish as was portrayed in his final emotional outpourings. Rachael-Louisa Bray was exquisite as the jester’s partner, Elsie Maynard. Her singing was stunning and she had such grace and style. Judith Hill’s marvellous singing voice was perfect for the role of Dame Carruthers and her provocative antics towards Sergeant Meryll, in the very 

capable hands of Simon Copley, were humorously portrayed. Andrew Lockwood’s 

superb tenor voice was just perfect for the the role of Colonel Fairfax, his singing never fails to impress and Max Taylor was ideally suited to the role of the Sir Richard Cholmondley. Good support came from Lizzy Blades as young Kate, Nathan Blood as Leonard Meryll, Peter Smith as the First Yeoman and Raymond Hill as the Second Yeoman. The nine Yeomen, resplendent in their red and gold uniforms, were so well 

disciplined adding the touch of formal pageantry to the whole proceedings backed up by a strong chorus and some lovely acrobatics and dancing. The settings were fine with excellent lighting effects, the costumes were splendiferous and as I have already said, the harmonious singing from everyone was divine. The large orchestra was magnificent and every accolade must go especially to Andrew Marples as Musical Director, and to the whole team for this excellent production.