The two essential elements of any of Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic operas were on full display in Illyria’s high quality open air performance.
The singing is first class from all seven cast members, with Anna Brook Mitchell and Emily Juler on fine form, ably supported by Illyria newcomers Sarah Annakin and Lindsey Crow.
Much of the humour stems from Christopher Barlow who expertly exploits his height and commanding stature as a lovable Pirate King, complemented by Lytham-born James Dangerfield, ever expressive of face and gesture, as an energetic Frederic.
The deft choreography and movement in Oliver Gray’s production add an inventive humour to many of the songs, supplemented by some simple but inspirational props.
Thomas Heard uses a rich voice, impeccable diction and skilled timing to create a memorable Modern Major General. Musical director Richard Healey’s superb work on the keyboard provides an excellent framework for every song.
On a beautiful midsummer evening the packed audience simply lapped it up, as the company captured the ridiculousness of Gilbert’s words together with the clever variety of Sullivan’s music. This was outdoor theatre at its very best.