Pleasance Theatre, London (venue)
25 June 2021 (released)
25 June 2021
What a joy to be back seeing live theatre again, and this 70 minute romp provides a perfectly fun-filled experience. Charles Court Opera are delivering a trolley full of delights that will satisfy the most hungry of Gilbert and Sullivan aficionados, and also those looking for a bit of light opera entertainment.
It would be hard to call this a plot driven piece, and the Gilbert and Sullivan catalogue of recognisable songs are implanted for fun rather than serious comment. This in no way detracts from its enjoyment. Some of the lyrics have been cleverly rewritten by director/writer John Savournin with all the aplomb of Gilbert. I'm sure he would have had Little Buttercup from HMS Pinafore, regaling the merits of a sausage roll, if he had thought of it. Here Bridget parades her 'doily cart' selling her wares. Not since Victoria Wood , has a trolley featured so comically and prominently in a plot.
The story that utilises this plethora of G&S hits, is a crime mystery set on a luxury, if a little faded passenger train. The train seems to call at all points from Penzance to Titipu via Venice and Fairyland with gay abandon. Inhabiting this train is a Poirot style detective ( Matthew Kellet) struggling to utilise his 'little grey cells' in solving a case of a patisserie perplexity. He is aided and misled by Bridget (Catrine Kirkman), serving refreshments and the eager to please Train Guard (Philip Lee). Kirkman and Lee taking on all the other roles and suspects within the story.
All is delivered at considerable speed with lots of in jokes and visual humour. Their three singing voices blend beautifully in the trios, and with each having a least one song to show their individual talent. Particularly Kirkman with her beautifully controlled rendition of 'The Sun and I'.
Lee's energy and pace around the stage was almost exhausting to watch on a warm June night.
Kellet made his detective more Bostrum than Branagh and although huge fun, it would have been nice to see him have the opportunity to play more than just that character.
Make sure to buy a ticket for this delightful bit of nonsense before it departs for its next stop .