Music by Arthur Sullivan: Lyric and Libretto by W S Gilbert
SYNOPSIS AND CAST
Iolanthe, most beloved of all the Fairies has been pardoned after 25-years of banishment from Fairyland for marrying a mortal, a crime usually punishable by death but, influenced by her great love and admiration for Iolanthe, the Queen commuted the sentence to life-long banishment, on condition that she left her husband and never communicated with him again. She was given the choice of all the pleasant places of the earth in which to dwell; but, chose to live at the bottom of a stream.
Iolanthe had a son by her marriage named Strephon, half mortal and half fairy. He is in love with Phyllis whom he is determined to marry but in order to do so, he needs the consent of her guardian, the Lord Chancellor, who is not happy about his ward marrying a mere shepherd. When Strephon goes to his mother for comfort, Phyllis misinterprets this and, believing him to be unfaithful, renounces her love for him. Although he protests that Iolanthe is his mother, his claims are met with derision by Phyllis and the peers (who are unaware of his parentage) and even the intervention of the Queen of the Fairies cannot persuade them otherwise.
Furious at their attitude, she declares that Strephon will enter Parliament and will work to overthrow all the privileges enjoyed by the nobility, a job at which Strephon is successful. Unfortunately, he finds it no substitute for Phyllis and, with no further reason to conceal it, he reveals his fairy origins to her. This explains Iolanthe’s apparent youth and the couple become re-engaged. At Strephon’s request, Iolanthe puts their case to the Lord Chancellor, but has to disguise herself before doing so as, unbeknown to him, he is her mortal husband and she is forbidden to enlighten him under pain of death.
Unfortunately, when he declares that he has decided to marry Phyllis himself, she is forced to reveal her true identity although this will mean forfeiting her life, and when it emerges that the other fairies have committed the ultimate offence and married mortals, the Lord Chancellor suggests that the law be amended so that it is a crime for any fairy not to marry a mortal. The Queen happily selects a mortal for herself and invites the whole company to join her in Fairyland.
Production by: Douglas Summers
Musical Director: Alan Gore-Harvey
|The Lord Chancellor||Jack Tivers|
|The Earl of Mountararat||Lawrence Reed|
|Earl Tollollier||George Storer|
|Private Willis||James Godwin|
|Queen of the Fairies||Nora Page|
|CHORUS OF FAIRIESM Brice, B Bushby, S Candler, B Dennis, H Ford, H Gibbs, I Greene, P Hedges, J Huckle, E Joseph, E McAthy, M Plaistow, A Speed, Y Tanner, J Tivers, M Thomson|
|CHORUS OF DUKES, MARQUISES, EARLS, VISCOUNTS & BARONSJ Ball, M Brailsford, J Cossins, K Eldridge, H Ford, P Fox, P Gibbs, J Gibson-Horrocks, L Harrington, R Henley, A Hinton, P Morgan, J Muir, E Page, L Slatter, B Theo, K Warner, S Wilson|