Watford Palace Theatre
23 January 2012

Directed by Julia Rufey and Mike Monk
Musical Direction by Philip Joslin

Our new production of Iolanthe sees the return of not one, but two of our previous directors, Julia Rufey (Yeomen of the Guard 2005) and Mike Monk (Iolanthe 2004 and Gondoliers 2007). Philip Joslin returns to wave the baton. A new departure for the society the various talents of the directorial team will be entirely focused to their strengths with a result that we hope will be both inovative and highly entertaining.

Iolanthe was first seen in November of 1882. A year which included the birth of A.A. Milne, Virgina Wolf and Stravinsky, the introduction of electricity into buildings for the purposes of illummination (including the Savoy Theatre), the first performance of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, of Wagner’s Parsifal, false teeth patented and the death of English Cricket in the test match between Australia and England that later spawned The Ashes. All have survived to one degree or another, but, according to a first night review of Iolanthe, the Gilbert and Sullivan oeuvre was not necessarily to have longevity.

“The Gilbertian school of humour is unique and peculiar. It may not endure, but it has made its mark. Neither Mr. Gilbert as an author, nor Mr. Sullivan as a musician, write for immortality. The school they have founded may not, perhaps, last far beyond their own time; nor can it be said that their operas are likely to confer any benefit upon the future lyric stage. They write for the time, and leave more elevated forms of art to the care of others. For all that, their work is most valuable, and has a distinctly beneficial influence. If they do no more than the majority of their fellows for the eternal glory of the musical drama, they do not degrade it.”

130 years later, and still going strong…!

Watford Palace Theatre 

Cast List

Character Played by
Phyllis Katherine Littler
Strephon Richard Jackson
Lord Tolloller Russell Stratton
Lord Mountararat Matthew Gregory
The Lord Chancellor Gareth Edwards
The Fairy Queen Debbie Southorn
Iolanthe Jenny Carr
Celia Lisa Morelli
Leila Sophie McDermott
Fleta Melanie Riseam
Private Willis Colin Walker