Let it be said at once that Frankie Howerd is no singer. He can't sing for toffee and in the warbling department he is way outclassed not only by the rest of the principals but by the humblest member of the chorus. Nonetheless, he gives Gilbert's witty lyrics a mighty good try and more than makes up for his lack of vocalizing prowess by his inspired buffoonery. I know G&S purists will object to Howerd's amusing ad libs, but I think Gilbert would be pleased by the way Howerd and director Wendy Toye have turned his chucklesome, satirical libretto into riotous, glorious farce. Admittedly, Howard's interpolations undermine one of the play's claims to fame, namely that it contains no dialogue. But I thought this a very small price to pay for the added amusement Howerd's interruptions supply.
Purist's of course will also dislike the way the play has been expanded, even though the music for this interlude was composed by Sullivan himself.
However, I brush these objections aside. I thought this production a perfect adaptation of the play. It is blessed with some fantastic singers. With the exception of Mr Howerd, not a dud among the lot of them. I will refrain from handing out laurels, though I must applaud Mr Davies and Miss Flowers who both do such wonderful work under the expert tutelage of Wendy Toye (who has also staged the action with such power and panache, that even a few awkward choices of camera set-ups by Mr Bailey don't matter a fig).
The lighting, costumes and production values are all most attractive.
In all, one of the very best G&S pieces available in 2007.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this