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The sheer joy and exuberance that this fantastic company brings should be something that could be bottled and sold on rainy days.

The glorious Sasha Regan’s All Male “Iolanthe” has arrived in Bath with its usual flair and beauty recreating the Gilbert and Sullivan classic comic opera with a love and sincerity that transcends the gender swapping. It is just excellent theatre.

“Iolanthe” is the tale of an attorney and a fairy that had a child who is half mortal and wishes to marry Phyllis who is mortal. The general confusion of identity and last minute solutions save them all from dreaded fairy curses; it is enormous fun for anyone whether an ardent fan of G&S or not.

Director Sasha Regan has squeezed every nuance out of the originals script whilst the inspired choreography from Mark Smith creates some glorious pictures combing signing and movement. The sepia fragile design by Stewart Charlesworth allows the storytelling aspect to develop naturally with lovely use of the single wardrobe onstage.
Performances are, as expected, superb. The skill of the cast is breathtaking with sustaining excellent vocals throughout.

 

Duncan Sandilands is a scene stealer as Captain Willis, whilst leading the ladies Christopher Finn (Iolanthe) Joe Henry (Phyllis) and the comic genius of Richard Russell Edwards (Fairy Queen) ensure the show is in very safe hands. The men have to work hard to keep up but Richard Carson (Strephon) is a great foil for Phyllis.

The nod to the current political situation is not lost and the use of the hunting imagery with the Lords and Peers is a salient moment.

There is so much to enjoy in this production and no doubt it will be a hot ticket, but it is well worth the trip.

 

Petra Schofield