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© 2009 Chesterfield Gilbert & Sullivan Society

At the start of the performance the Musical Director, Andrew Marples, entered the auditorium bedecked in a Union Jack Flag and instead of the usual National Anthem we were treated to a magnificent rendition from the nineteen piece orchestra of ‘Jubilee Fanfare’, composed by Andrew in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. This, plus the Overture, set the stage for what was to be a really exciting and fun evening.

David Lovell was commanding and convincing as The Pirate King exuding charisma, gusto, passion and energy whenever he was on stage. He was well served by Samuel (his Lieutenant), well played by Raymond Hill in his first major role with the society, and his lively bunch of pirates who were flamboyantly dressed and in excellent voice. Frederick, the pirate apprentice, was played by Andrew Moore with great aplomb. His fine, clear singing was superb. The vocal talents of Rachael-Louisa Bray were outstanding and equally matched by her acting skills - she was deliciously delightful as lisping Mabel. Phil Aldred, as Major-General Stanley, performs with ease and gave an impeccable performance of the tongue twisting well known patter song ‘I am the very model....’. Loved him in his night-shirt complete with teddy bear!! First rate support came from daughters Kate (Phillippa Lockwood), Edith (Julie Currey) and Isabel (Helen Booker) helped along by the decorous, melodious ladies of the chorus, many being of a very youthful age which was lovely to see. Judith Hill as Ruth, gave a very high quality performance wringing every ounce of humour from the role. Her powerful singing voice was truly wonderful - and as for her little sword, well!!

One highlight of ‘Pirates’ is of course the appearance of the Sergeant of Police and his merry band of policemen and what a fine and motley crew they were. David Stokes led them in a splendid comedy routine his legs seemed to be made of rubber, it was hilarious.

The splendid costumes, lovely sets with some very effective atmospheric lighting, fine singing from soloists and chorus members, imaginative and well executed choreography, a terrific orchestra all made for a vibrant, funny, action packed performance.

Congratulations to everyone involved, especially to Jo Howland, in her first encounter as Director with the society.

(2012 NODA Magazine Revue..By Joyce Handbury)

© 2009 Chesterfield Gilbert & Sullivan Society

The Yeomen of the Guard is a Savoy Opera, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W.S. Gilbert.
It is set in the Tower of London during the 16th. century and musically the finest of all the G&S operas. To fulfil this challenge some excellent principal and support singers are paramount and we certainly were not disappointed on that score. The singing throughout was exceptional in all of the solos, duets, and other groupings.
After the wonderfully executed overture the show opens with Phoebe sitting at a spinning wheel on a raised dais beautifully singing ‘When maiden loves she sits and sighs’. Julie Currey, as Phoebe Meryll, was totally delightful, she was so animated with lovely facial expressions and a perfect foil for the assignations afforded her by the lecherous head jailor, Wilfred Shadbolt, impressively played by Phil Aldred.
Robert Spencer was outstanding as jester Jack Point. He embraced, in both singing and acting, the humour, the sentimentality and especially the anguish as was portrayed in his final emotional outpourings.
Rachael-Louisa Bray was exquisite as the jester’s partner, Elsie Maynard. Her singing was stunning and she had such grace and style.
Judith Hill’s marvellous singing voice was perfect for the role of Dame Carruthers and her provocative antics towards Sergeant Meryll, in the very capable hands of Simon Copley, were humorously portrayed.
Andrew Lockwood’s superb tenor voice was just perfect for the role of Colonel Fairfax, his singing never fails to impress and Max Taylor was ideally suited to the role of the Sir Richard Cholmondley.
Good support came from Lizzy Blades as young Kate, Nathan Blood as Leonard Meryll, Peter Smith as the First Yeoman and Raymond Hill as the Second Yeoman.
The nine Yeomen, resplendent in their red and gold uniforms, were so well disciplined adding the touch of formal pageantry to the whole proceedings backed up by a strong chorus and some lovely acrobatics and dancing. The settings were fine with excellent lighting effects, the costumes were splendiferous and as I have already said, the harmonious singing from everyone was divine. The large orchestra was magnificent and every accolade must go especially to Andrew Marples as Musical Director, and to the whole team for this excellent production.

Joyce Handbury, East Midlands NODA Rep.

    REVIEW: Chesterfield G & S Society’s dream ticket.          By Gay Bolton  (Derbyshire Times).                                                       Monday 18th April 2016.

Dream, Fantasy & Legend was the title of the concert and what a magical journey it was.

Chesterfield Gilbert and Society whisked its audience around the globe, from Spain to Italy, Germany to America in an imaginative programme which scaled the heights of entertainment.

The society presented a couple of new additions to its repertoire - a particularly lovely choral version of I Dreamed A Dream, from Les Miserables, which is usually sung as a solo, and the beautifully performed Fields of Gold.

Lively excerpts from Iolanthe whetted the audience’s appetite for a full-length production of the comic opera which satirises the House of Lords to be presented by the society at the Pomegranate Theatre in October. Musical director Andrew Marples said: “I wonder what targets our director Nic Wilson will find especially after the EU referendum.”

Vote-winning renditions of songs from opera, musical theatre and film came from every soloist at Hasland’s Eastwood Hall on Saturday .

Particular mention should be made of tenor Andrew Lockwood’s spellbinding performance of Una Furtiva Lagrima from Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love and the rich, fulsome voice of bass Blll Hoskin performing If Ever I Would Leave You from Camelot. Beautiful solos by Anne Flint performing Somewhere Over the Rainbow from The Wizard of Oz and Julie Currey’s rendition of Memory from Cats further served to impress the audience.

Of the duets, the pairing of Val Crick and Andrew Lockwood performing the Act 1 finale in The Sorcerer was my favourite - her sweet, pure voice soaring above his.

Variety was the keynote of the concert with Chesterfield’s answer to American barbershop quartet The Chordettes coming in the form of Anne Flint, Julie Currey, Carole Pilkington and Penny Fairs whose performance of Mister Sandman added an extra dash of sparkle to a glittering cocktail of song.

A G&S concert wouldn’t be the same without a spot of comedy from Phil Aldred whose solo rendition of Long Ago in Alcala included the immortal line: “As long as the right note is sung, it doesn’t matter what words you sing.”

Accompanied by Chris Flint on piano, the society ended this dream ticket of a show with a spectacular medley from The Phantom of the Opera, followed by Unchained Melody from the film Ghost.