Comedy and opera are not natural bedfellows at first glance, although anything is possible with the work of Gilbert and Sullivan.
The latest production by Northampton Gilbert and Sullivan Group is The Yeoman of the Guard which runs at Royal & Derngate from Monday, March 7, to Saturday, March 12.
The show is regarded by most to be Gilbert and Sullivan’s finest, combining a superb operatic score with Gilbert’s most ingenious writing.
Set in the shadow of the Tower of London in the 16th century, the plot centres on Colonel Fairfax, a gentleman, soldier and scientist who has been condemned on a false charge of sorcery.
To avoid leaving his estate to his accuser (a cousin) Fairfax elicits the help of the Lieutenant of the Tower and, under blindfold, secretly marries Elsie Maynard, a strolling singer.
However, with the assistance of the Meryll family, Fairfax escapes, throwing the tower into confusion and the astonished Elsie (and her companion, the jester Jack Point) into despair.
The Yeomen of the Guard is the most serious of the Gilbert & Sullivan canon, in that it ends with a broken heart and at least two reluctant engagements, however, Gilbert still manages to find every opportunity to introduce comedy, whilst Sullivan’s score is believed by many to be his best.
The group is directed by renowned baritone and actor Leon Berger with David Chambers returning as musical director.
Simon Crask, the group’s treasurer who plays Jack Point, said: “We are delighted to be working with Leon. His professional experience, superb knowledge of Gilbert and Sullivan and infectious enthusiasm for the theatre has shined through in rehearsals creating a show the entire cast is proud to be part of.
“This production of Yeomen promises to be very exciting, innovatively staged and skilfully directed with an excellent cast. It should not be missed.
“Leon, in his vision for the production, has created a unique show which allows the music, libretto and cast to shine.
“For Gilbert and Sullivan aficionados this production shines a massive spotlight on Gilbert’s wonderful penmanship and Sullivan’s superb orchestrations. This production also includes both of the cut musical numbers.”
Tickets for the show cost between £17.50 and £20 and it takes place at 7.30pm throughout the six night run. There will be a matinee performance at 2.30pm on the show’s final day.
Tickets can be booked by visiting www.royalandderngate.co.uk or call the box office on 01604 624811.
Alternatively, they can be bought by visiting www.northamptongandsgroup.co.uk