Gilbert and Sullivan at their zany best in choral society concert this Sunday

ON POINT: In Gisborne Choral Society’s concert version of Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera The Yeomen of the Guard, Gavin Maclean (centre) plays wandering player Point, who is in love with his sidekick (left) Elsie (Beatrix Carino). Elsie, however, has married wrongly imprisoned war hero Colonel Fairfax (Tim McAneney, right). Picture by Mark Peters

Tairawhiti Museum’s White Gallery will on Sunday provide the setting for a concert version of the very English musical comedy The Yeomen of the Guard

Composed by Victorian-era duo Gilbert and Sullivan, Gisborne Choral Society, with Coralie Hunter on piano, will present a concert version of the comic opera with the best choruses, solos, duos, trios and exchanges from the original.

“The Yeomen of the Guard has the usual zany humour, clever lyrics and catchy tunes that took Britain and America by storm in the 19th century and has kept Gilbert and Sullivan popular ever since,” says choral society musical director Gavin Maclean.

Yeomen’s plot is characteristically absurd. The work was composed by the duo who created other musical worlds in which fairies rub elbows with British lords, flirting is a capital offence, gondoliers ascend to the monarchy and pirates emerge as noblemen who have gone astray.

Set in the 16th century, in the precincts of the grim Tower of London, Colonel Fairfax (Tim McAneney) is falsely imprisoned for dabbling in the dark arts and faces the axe.

The coquettish Phoebe (Marlene Nuttall) fancies Fairfax no end. But to help the Colonel save his fortunes, Elsie Maynard (Beatrix Carino) — one of two travelling players — agrees to marry him.

Elsie’s co-player Point (Maclean) is in love with Elsie, though.

Jailer/tormentor Wilfred Shadbolt (Mark Peters) fancies Phoebe so Point agrees to teach him how to jest if Shadbolt agrees to have pretended to have shot the escaped prisoner Fairfax.

Gilbert and Sullivan’s works have an internal logic so the story will make perfect sense as the concert unfolds.

Gilbert, the librettist of the partnership, “makes bizarre things happen and turns the world on its head”, director/playwright Mike Leigh once said.

“His genius is to fuse opposites with an imperceptible sleight of hand, to blend the surreal with the real and the caricature with the natural.

“In other words, to tell a perfectly outrageous story in a completely deadpan way.”

  • Gisborne Choral Society’s Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera The Yeomen of the Guard is at Tairawhiti Museum on Sunday at 2pm. Entry is free or by koha.

Tairawhiti Museum’s White Gallery will on Sunday provide the setting for a concert version of the very English musical comedy The Yeomen of the Guard

Composed by Victorian-era duo Gilbert and Sullivan, Gisborne Choral Society, with Coralie Hunter on piano, will present a concert version of the comic opera with the best choruses, solos, duos, trios and exchanges from the original.

“The Yeomen of the Guard has the usual zany humour, clever lyrics and catchy tunes that took Britain and America by storm in the 19th century and has kept Gilbert and Sullivan popular ever since,” says choral society musical director Gavin Maclean.

Yeomen’s plot is characteristically absurd. The work was composed by the duo who created other musical worlds in which fairies rub elbows with British lords, flirting is a capital offence, gondoliers ascend to the monarchy and pirates emerge as noblemen who have gone astray.

Set in the 16th century, in the precincts of the grim Tower of London, Colonel Fairfax (Tim McAneney) is falsely imprisoned for dabbling in the dark arts and faces the axe.

The coquettish Phoebe (Marlene Nuttall) fancies Fairfax no end. But to help the Colonel save his fortunes, Elsie Maynard (Beatrix Carino) — one of two travelling players — agrees to marry him.

Elsie’s co-player Point (Maclean) is in love with Elsie, though.

Jailer/tormentor Wilfred Shadbolt (Mark Peters) fancies Phoebe so Point agrees to teach him how to jest if Shadbolt agrees to have pretended to have shot the escaped prisoner Fairfax.

Gilbert and Sullivan’s works have an internal logic so the story will make perfect sense as the concert unfolds.

Gilbert, the librettist of the partnership, “makes bizarre things happen and turns the world on its head”, director/playwright Mike Leigh once said.

“His genius is to fuse opposites with an imperceptible sleight of hand, to blend the surreal with the real and the caricature with the natural.

“In other words, to tell a perfectly outrageous story in a completely deadpan way.”

  • Gisborne Choral Society’s Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera The Yeomen of the Guard is at Tairawhiti Museum on Sunday at 2pm. Entry is free or by koha.

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