This production of Iolanthe sparkled with fun and clever wit from beginning to end and Robin Ozog, as director, is to be congratulated on his extremely humorous slant on this well loved operetta.
Iolanthe is one of the Gilbert & Sullivan operettas where the male and female choruses often appear separately.
The operetta contains some of the most popular songs for male chorus, and Kirkcaldy Gilbert & Sullivan Society did Sullivan proud this year with a very large and imposing line up of men.
The ladies chorus, although small in number, sang and acted very well. Their sparkly dresses and wands that lit up made their appearance on stage very eye catching.
Robin moved the setting into the 1920s and this allowed some very clever twists. The ‘Cottingley Fairy’ photographs were widely believed to be genuine at that time, and were woven into the plot to provide another rather convenient thread to the story.
The ‘Entrance of the Peers’, usually enacted as a ceremonial coroneted and be-robed procession, was here portrayed as a country shoot, replete with off-stage sounds of dogs, guns and ducks. The appearance of a live dog no bigger than the duck it sought to retrieve was warmly received by the audience, who loved the humour!
A set of strong principals complemented this show.
Linda Milne, as Phyllis, again delighted audiences with her clear soprano voice and fine acting.
The part of Strephon, played by Michael McFarlane, was equally well cast. He played his part to perfection and audiences enjoyed his powerful voice and good diction.
The scenes where both he and Linda sang together were a delight to listen to, and their voices blended well.
Caroline Warburton’s beautiful voice in the part of Iolanthe was well received by audiences. Playing opposite her, as the Lord Chancellor, Colin Stubbs was very amusing. Although he required some prompting, he played his part well as a doddering, pompous old man.
Elaine Young as the Fairy Queen was superb, both in her fine contralto voice and her comic acting ability.
The parts of Lord Tolloller and Earl of Mountararat, played by Andrew Sim and Robin Ozog were well cast. The dialogue between them in Act 2 was particularly amusing.
Robin’s rendition of the well known, ‘When Britain really ruled the Waves’, allowed the audience to enjoy his wonderful voice, and the chorus backing was excellent here.
The guardsman outside the Houses of Parliament, played by Dave Smith, was well sung, and the presentation of part of his song in a ‘camp’ manner was very amusing to audiences.
The three main fairies, played by Fiona Vallance, Louise Gibson and Lia Penman were well acted. The very colourful wigs added yet more spectacle to this show.
Mention must be made of a number of young people in this production as both fairies and peers. They all did incredibly well.
Under the baton of John Howden, this production was musically excellent. When the full chorus and principals were singing together, particularly in the finale to Act 1, the sound was strong and impressive. This is a society with a lot of talent.
The set was simple and effective with plenty of room on stage for movement of chorus and principals, which was done to good effect.
The whole production was thoroughly enjoyable, and had been made especially amusing and entertaining for audiences.
Well done to Kirkcaldy Gilbert & Sullivan Society in their 75th year. We have come to expect high standards from them and look forward to their 2015 production of The Mikado.