March 2014

'A lovely evening'

In this G and S production, the director had a talented cast to work with.

The audience were treated to beautiful vocals from the whole cast, chorus as well as principals. The story involves the Baronet of Ruddigore, a spell cast on the family, the appearance of ghosts and in true Gand S all gets sorted out happily in the end.

Dame Hannah, well sung by Susan Bradley, opens the show, telling the unemployed Professional Bridesmaids who are upset at having no work, the legend of Ruddigore. Rose Maybud, beautifully sung by Helen Fieldsend, is loved by many of the village men including Robin Oakapple. It turns out that he is really the true Baronet. Treated to super acting and singing from Peter Bowden as Robin and principals Chris Hall (Richard Dauntless),David Hughes (Old Adam), Ken Brookes (Sir Roderic Murgatroyd) and finally but with a fantastic performance was David Seager playing Sir Despard Murgatroyd. Hannah Carolan cast as Mad Margaret, a difficult role to portray, but well attempted.

I would like to congratulate backstage staff on the lovely set, good sound and lighting. All the costumes were fantastic especially in the scene when the ghostly ancesters appear.

It is rare to see such a large orchestra as was present here, however this was a super group of musicians with a great conductor, Christine Seager.

Thank you so much for your kindness and help, a lovely evening.

Jackie Kay

The Bolton News
'An experienced Gilbert and Sullivan group is staging a lesser-known opera by the musical duo.'

The title, Ruddigore, gives little of the plot away but it is also known as The Witch’s Curse.

With all the music, jollity and humour you would expect, fans of the pair have until Saturday to enjoy the show at The Albert Halls.

The comic opera’s plot surrounds a curse on the Murgatroyd family which means every baronet of Ruddigore must commit a crime a day or die in awful agony. This causes calamity for the love lives of various people living in Rederring, including Rose Maybud whose life is guided entirely by a book of etiquette.

Helen Fieldsend is fantastic as Rose, with a wonderfully strong and engaging operatic voice and enjoyable acting skills. I particularly enjoyed the humour of her consulting her etiquette book when unsure how to act in certain situations.

Peter Bowden is also a very strong lead in the role of Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd, who has disguised himself as a young farmer named Robin to avoid being struck down by the curse. In Act II, his past catches up with him and he plays the two parts with great contrast.

I also particularly enjoyed Hannah Carolan, as Mad Margaret, who is entertaining as the dishevelled and crazed character. David Seager played the part of wicked baronet Sir Despard Murgatroyd well, bringing drama and spookiness to the production which is billed as a supernatural opera.

They were supported by other talented cast members including Chris Hall as Richard Dauntless, David Hughes, as Old Adam Goodheart, Ken Brook as Sir Roderic Murgatroyd, Susan Bradley as Dame Hannah, Jennie Henshaw as Zorah and Heather Molloy as Ruth.

It is great that New Rosemere continues to perform the less popular of Gilbert and Sullivan’s productions but I did feel the pace of the story was rather slow until well into Act I, which was too long at just a shade under 90 minutes. The action picked up in Act II though and the set, featuring the ghostly figures staring down from portraits, was fantastic while the songs were enjoyable throughout.

Set to the music of a live orchestra, led by musical director Christine Seager, Ruddigore, produced by Jean Horrocks, runs until Saturday

Melanie Wallwork