Tuesday 5th to Sat 9th March 2013
Palace Theatre, Redditch
- Director – Steve Skinner
- Musical Director – Tom Porter
- Assistant Producer – Melanie Hart
- Stage Manager – Andy Witcombe
- Rehearsal Pianist – Carol Griffiths
- Don Alhambra Del Bolero – Grand Inquisitor – Michael Hawkins
- The Duke of Plaza-Toro – David Coulson
- Luiz (his Attendant) – Alan Hastings
- Marco Palmieri – David Steele
- Giuseppe Palmieri – Ian Walton
- Annibale – Anthony Vater
- Antonio – Stewart Vick
- Giorgio – Leslie Johnson
- Waiter – Richard Weller
- The Duchess of Plaza-Toro – Melanie Hart
- Casilda (her daughter) – Helen Hastings
- Gianetta – Janna Mutton
- Tessa – Mandy Goddard
- Fiametta – Abigail Cole
- Guillia – Harriet Mills
- Francesca – Alison Medway
- Vittoria – Elaine Benson
- Inez (The King’s Foster-mother) – Jean Chalk
- Dancers – Georgie Roberts and Kirsty Wagg
Society did Comic Opera Writers Proud
“This twelfth comic opera written together by Gilbert and Sullivan is widely regarded as the pinnacle of their collaboration and ABOS did the pair proud at The Palace Theatre in Redditch last week.
Updating the jokes with modern-day references kept to the spirit of their satire while the story of a king whose identity is known by only one (missing) person was faithfully observed.
Gondoliers Marco and Guiseppe, played by tenor David Steele and baritone Ian Walton, were a perfect partnership. Both can act well and had superb voices, their rich tones keeping the packed audience spellbound. Their brides, Tessa (Mandy Goddard) and Gianetta (Janna Mutton) also sang beautifully.
The Duke of Plaza-Toro, David Coulson, had no trouble filling the auditorium with sound, used as he is to much larger venues including Westminster Abbey and The Royal Festival Hall.
And the performance of the duchess – Melanie Hart – was truly hilarious, her excellent make-up, facial expressions and frequent resorts to a sly nip from a hip flask thankfully not affecting her voice!
Although his part was small, Michael Hawkins’ voice had everyone enthralled as he played the sinister inquisitor Don Alhambra to great effect.
Directed by Steve Skinner under the baton of Tom Porter, the whole society, leads and chorus, brought the Gondoliers up to date with great aplomb.”
written by Alison Parkinson for The Redditch Standard
Venice was Transported to Redditch
“Giving prominence to a member of this long established society projected on to a large screen was an interesting way to start this production. Jill Bray in her 50th performance for ABOS was featured in a gondola as the overture was played for this popular G & S favourite.
Venice was transported to Redditch in the form of a simple though highly effective set; the opening with “List and Learn” gave the first airing of a competent chorus ahead of a well-dressed, with trilby and cape Duke of Plaza Toro (David Coulson) with his perfectly slightly tipsy Duchess (Melanie Hart) and delightfully played and sung Casilda, their daughter (Helen Hastings).
Marco (David Steele) and Giuseppe Palmieri (Ian Walton) brought richness of sound both as soloists and with other principals and the chorus in superb performances with a perfect balance of character and movement with comedy and pace as they searched for their brides Gianetta (Janna Mutton) and Tessa (Mandy Goddard) displaying considerable vocal and acting talent enhanced by effective lighting in the piece “In a Contemplative Fashion”.
In a show stealing performance Don Alhambra Del Bolero Grand Inquisitor (Michael Hawkins) brought complete excellence in voice, stagecraft and conviction commanding the stage each and every time.
Full advantage was taken to reflect a setting in the 1920’s with costume choice for the whole company with eye catching black and white throughout complemented by some vibrant colours for some scenes. The men’s “black tie” in the opening of Act 2 proved particularly effective.
An often crowded stage for a largely well sung chorus impeded any possibility of excitement in the dance numbers including the highly popular “Dance a Cachucha” being performed in a somewhat static manner. That said, overall this was a most enjoyable interpretation of a Gilbert & Sullivan classic ensuring its continued popularity and made for a thoroughly entertaining evening.”
Ian G Cox – NODA Regional Representative – Worcestershire East (District 12)by