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The Yeomen of the Guard
by Gilbert and Sullivan
The Tower of London in the sixteenth century was a pretty grim place – not perhaps an obvious setting for a work by a partnership known for producing comic operas brimming with sparkling wit and melody. And yes, “The Yeomen of the Guard” does strike a more sombre note than one might expect from the combined pens of Gilbert and Sullivan, but it is certainly none the worse for that – there is still plenty of humour to be found, and an abundance of wonderful music from the overture onwards.
The dashingly handsome and brave Colonel Fairfax is due to be executed before the day is out, convicted on a fabricated charge of sorcery. Sergeant Meryll and his daughter Phoebe are both most anxious that this should not happen – the Sergeant because the brave Colonel twice saved his life on the battlefield, and Phoebe – well, because he’s young and dashingly handsome! Together with Phoebe’s brother Leonard, who has just arrived at the Tower to join the Yeomen of the Guard, they hatch a bold and very risky plot to enable Fairfax to escape his fate.
The condemned man meanwhile faces his fast-approaching and undeserved date with the headsman calmly and with great courage befitting such a heroic figure, but he does have one last – and slightly unusual - request…
Meanwhile two poor strolling players – Jack Point and Elsie Maynard – arrive on the scene, hotly pursued by a crowd demanding to be entertained by them before the rather more gruesome main event to follow…
What is the Colonel’s unusual request, and will it be granted?
Will the Meryll family’s daring rescue plan be successful?
Will Colonel Fairfax (or indeed anyone else!) lose his head?
And what part, if any, will the Merryman Jack Point and his Maid Elsie Maynard play in all this?
Join us in October to find out!