Operetta club creates Fairyland in Bristol's Redgrave Theatre

March 26 2018

A Bristol operetta society is to perform the enchanting Iolanthe in April, with an opportunity to meet the fairies!

A Bristol operetta society is to perform the enchanting Iolanthe in April, with an opportunity to meet the fairies!

Brought to you by the same team who created Ruddigore at Kings Weston House in 2017, Bristol Gilbert and Operatic Society presents the delightfully witty Iolanthe at the Redgrave Theatre in April.

First performed at the Savoy Theatre in 1881, and currently being revived by the ENO at the Coliseum, this eighth collaboration of Gilbert and Sullivan is regarded by many as their finest and most perfect collaboration.

Iolanthe drops members of the House of Lords into the middle of an inspired forest enchanted by fairies and ruled by a no-nonsense Fairy Queen. Strephon, son of the beloved Iolanthe, is sent into Parliament as a Fairy Member when the Lord Chancellor and his colleagues spurn his affections for his darling Phyllis.

And, do you know where the term fairy lights originally comes from? It was in Iolanthe’s opening run at the Savoy that the fairies wore tiny lights in their headdresses and the phrase fairy lights was born!

“Iolanthe has the strongest blend of dialogue and music of any other collaboration between this remarkable duo,” says musical director Ben England, returning for a third year with the society.

“The Lord Chancellor’s patter song is regarded as the most demanding and elaborate in the repertoire, together with some astonishing and challenging chorus numbers which our top-notch cast will dash off with a flourish!”

Show director Hannah Coleman said: “After the success of Ruddigore last year, we've continued to build on our tradition of a talented, active chorus, and Iolanthe is the perfect vehicle for them to shine. I could not be more excited to see how the brilliant performers that make up our cast principals and chorus make this show their own.”

Marianne Murray, chair of BGSOS, said: “in putting on Iolanthe, we know that our audiences demand something special, so expect to see spells being cast with fire and brimstone, ethereal lighting effects, and of course those headdresses complete with fairy lights. This year we are welcoming some very young fairies and peers to our cast to contribute to the magic!” 

Gala Night, where audience members can share in a glass of something whimsical with the cast is Wednesday night and includes a pre-show talk on the production.

BGSOS is performing Iolanthe 18 – 21 April, with a matinee performance on Saturday 21 April, where children are especially invited, with an opportunity to meet the cast afterwards and have your photo taken with a real fairy!

Tickets are available from https://www.bristolgsos.com