'Iolanthe'
March 2016

NODA
'I enjoyed everything about this show.'

This society really had to work so hard the night that I saw this show. After the overture the MD had to leave as he had felt ill most of the day. The leader of the orchestra, Janet Hitchen, had to become conductor and Andrew Morley had to move and become leader of the orchestra. Apart from one or two slight hiccups the show was still a resounding success. Costumes and lighting were very good.

Hannah Carolan playing the part of Iolanthe was excellent. Eleanor Molloy was superb as Phyllis with a beautiful voice and great stage presence. The Lord Chancellor was played by Peter Bowden. Every word of his patter songs could be heard and they were sung at some speed. Brilliant. Liz Gent was a very exotic Fairy Queen, singing her solos and joining with the fairy chorus with great feeling. Ken Brook was a smashing Private Willis with a cracking voice and his facial expressions were super. It`s no wonder that the Fairy Queen was eyeing him up. Anthony Noden was a handsome Strephon who has fallen in love with Phyllis. Their duets were well sung. I enjoyed `None Shall Part us`. Both sang their solos and numbers with the chorus very well. The various Peers were well cast. They included The Earl of Mountararat (Mick Nash) and Earl Tolloller (David Griffiths). Both had very strong vocals. I enjoyed the scene as they were trying to work out who was to marry Phillis. I was impressed with all the Peers who all seemed to have their own character and never let it slip. Well sung and acted. Not to be outshone were the group of fairies who all sang well. Leading them were, Fairies - Celia, Leila and Fieta, played by Lynn Corlett, Heather Molloy and Christine Travis.

I was sad to hear of the death of three of their members. Jean Horrocks who was still directing the show until the end of the year. The task of directing the show passed to Hannah Carolan. You did a great job giving us such a good show. The beginning of the year also saw the death of Gill Tonge, a stalwart member of the society, the show was dedicated to her memory. Rosemere also announced the death of Maureen Roberts, their rehearsal pianist for many years. Sympathies go to all the families and to the society on the loss of these members.

Thank you so much for your kind invitation, I enjoyed everything about this show.

Jackie Kay


BATS
'This was a fast-paced production from start to finish.'

Billed as an ethereal comedy, Gilbert and Sullivan's 7th Operetta if full of mystique and political snobbery as we are taken on a journey with fairies, peers and the obligatory lovers' tale.

The opening chorus of fairies, led with confidence by Liz Gent as Queen Fairy, was nicely presented. Vocal additions by Lynn Corlett, Heather Molloy and Christine Travis provided a complete picture as the scene was set for this fairies versus mortals stand off.

The realm implores the Queen of the Fairies to pardon Iolanthe for a previous capital offence. Once granted, Iolanthe, played brilliantly by Hannah Carolan with vocal ease and dexterity, is back in the land of the living.

Iolanthe introduces her son Strephon to her fairy sisters, informing them that he is half fairy and half mortal. As Strephon, Anthony Noden is note perfect and takes a gallant stance in ensuring he proves he is man enough to marry Phyllis, the shepherdess. Eleanor Molloy portrays this character with a subtle innocence but she packs a punch when she thinks Strephon is cheating on her.

Enter the peers who oppose the pending marriage and set about wooing her. This is a male ensemble to be proud of; the powerful vocals provide a rich operatic sound.

As possible suitors, David Griffiths and Mike Nash are suitably cast and provide the unwitting folly Phyllis needs to enrage Stephron's jealousy.

Bringing a touch of comedy is Ken Brock as Private Willis who was on top form with a great delivery. Peter Bowden as Lord Chancellor was excellent his recitative was a joy and his performance delivered with a comedic flair.

A rousing finale in in act two led to where we saw the wrongs of the past put right and the lovers end up together. This was a fast-paced production from start to finish.

Hannah Carolan took on the mantle of director and what a great job she did. Special mention must go to John Balshaw who took the baton on the last performance as Musical Director, Charles Galloway was taken ill.

Paul Cohen