2005 - Iolanthe

NODA review by Ann Platten

Director: Tony Brett
Musical Director: Susannah Edom

This was a very well balanced show in many respects and the set added to the style of the show in a positive way.

I have not seen a performance by this society for some time, and was impressed that it still has a good strong male chorus which were well balanced and sung with gusto. The ladies did well also, and sang in harmony with a good blend of voices, perhaps a few more contraltos would have added to the depth of the opening chorus sound.

The characters of Strephon and Phyllis were well balanced and pleasant in their duets.
The part of the Lord Chancellor I like immensely; well sung and very well portrayed in his rather quirky character. Tony’s “Love unrequited” was excellent and well received by the audience.

Both the Earl of Mountararat and Earl Tolloller sang very well and complimented each other’s interpretation.

The Fairy Queen is quite a complex character in many ways and Janet did well on this. It is a lovely part and has some wry humour in her scene with Private Willis which was interpreted well. I was not sure about the choice of her “Hat”. It was not what was expected (possibly a Tiara for a Queen) may have looked more regal?
Private Willis was well sung but at times was not always together with the MD. Iolanthe was sympathetically played and looked good.
A very enjoyable performance well directed by Tony Brett and Susannah Edom as Musical Director.

Review by Ann Platten

Braintree and Witham Times Review

Hall ablaze with colour for an outstanding Iolanthe

LAST week the Public Hall in Witham was ablaze with colour and resounded with beauti­ful music as Witham Operatic Society pro­duced an outstanding performance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe.

The hero, Strephon, played by Tim Clarke, sang well with his leading lady especially in None Shall Part Us, which set the scene and tone of the show. Playing Phyllis, Car­olyn Harley, a real asset to any society, had a bell like quality in her voice. Janet Wash as Queen of the Fairies had the ability to command the stage and her singing voice added to the drama of the scenes. Her band of fairies tripped elegantly and sang sweetly.

Director Tony Brett’s control of the movement of chorus and soloists was matched by the high stan­dard of singing under the guidance of the musical director Susannah Edom.

The second act intro­duced Private Willis played by Stephen Drap­er. A fine figure of a man with a powerful bass voice, he proved to be irre­sistible to the Queen of the Fairies. It was not until the end of the second act that Rachel Clapp as Iolanthe had the opportunity to reveal her pleasant singing voice. Earl Tolloller, Simon Mitchell, and Earl of Mount Ararat, Nicholas Clough, acted and sang their solos and duets most effectively. They danced a trio with the agile Lord Chancellor, portrayed by Tony Court. It was a pity that the words of the nightmare song were not clearer.

Review by James Bright