sat 25/11/2017

Iolanthe, Wilton's Music Hall | reviews, news & interviews

Iolanthe, Wilton's Music Hall

Iolanthe, Wilton's Music Hall

All-male fairies and peers dazzle their way through the best musical in town

Blithe young lovers: Louis Maskell as half-fairy Strephon and Alan Richardson as shepherdess PhyllisAll photos by Kay Young

What's this? Goosebumps? Tears? Surely not in the usually brittle world of the Savoy operas. Yet handle Sullivan's pathos with tenderness, make everyone believe in a recognition scene between a sinning fairy and her preening peer of a husband, and the spectators will be putty in your hands. It helps that they've already been softened by top-notch baritones, tenors and falsettists, tickled by dance routines and amazed by the freshness of Gilbert's lyrics - all suffused by the glow of Wilton's Music Hall, which can incline us to take even a spoof fairyland a little seriously. Lloyd Webber, eat your heart out; in the exuberant world of Sasha Regan's "all-male Iolanthe", G&S can still yield the wittiest, most tuneful musical in town.

Christopher Finn plays Iolanthe's dilemma absolutely straight, his fabulous popstar falsetto harnessed to serious intent

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Yes a wonderful show What a fabulous show. Oh my, I am still sighing nearly 24 hours later. Lovely, pretty boys singing so beautifully in a half restored building. Paying carefully attention to the witty score with it’s parallels to the government coalition of today the all-male cast provided joy, mirth and the occassional tear from beginning to end. Like their version of Pirates of Penzance there was no drag, no high-campery or screeching falsettos, just fairies seducing peers in the house of lords. The costumes reflected the stripped back nature of the hall and all the cast protrayed great feeling with the smallest gestures and facial ticks. I want to watch it another 14 times, so I can spend time following each individual actor. They all had some wonderful moments And the venue is just perfect, if you’ve never been to the oldest musical hall, then it’s worth it just for that. Go to for more. There’s nothing else to say, except go see it (you’ve got until 7th May, for a wonderous evening that will have you smiling inside for the next week. I just wonder, given the gender imbalance in my musical theatre group, whether an all-female Gilbert and Sullivan show could deliver the goods.

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