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Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe


Sat 16 Aug 2008, 7:30pm

Where: Southward Theatre, off SH1, Paraparaumu

Ticket Information:

  • Adult Premium Reserve: $54.00
  • Senior Premium Reserve: $46.50
  • Student Premium Reserve: $44.50
  • Additional fees may apply


Listed by: MarjorieMckee

If you suspect MPs are away with the fairies, “Iolanthe” will confirm it.

Having satirised the Public Service, Admiralty and Police, Gilbert targets the most British of institutions, the Houses of Parliament. This late work shows G&S at their best, with droll wit and enchanting music.

The perennial theme of simple romance threatened by rivals is played out in a parliamentary setting in which the ruling classes discover that blue blood, despite the rousing declaration of their superiority in the stirring march Tan-tan-tara!, has no prior claim to true love, and knavish tricks have consequences.

Ineptitude, enactment of laws which lack common sense, self-serving behaviour, posturing, spin, and the limitations of party politics also play their part…"When in the House, MPs divide… They’ve got to leave that brain outside, and vote just as their leaders tell 'em to."

However, the ruling elite meet their match and find themselves forced to acknowledge the superiority of higher powers. Even the Lord Chancellor is smitten with love, finding himself hopelessly compromised as he reveals in the memorable Nightmare Song. Romance wins the day and in a fairy-tale ending the strife is finally resolved by sacrificing principle to expediency, with a amendment to the (Fairy) Laws so that all (in parliament at any rate) may live happily ever after.

This is a traditional production with full sets and splendid costumes, by the producers of The Mikado (2006) and The Tales of Hoffmann (2007). The cast of over 30 singers is supported by an orchestra of 23 players conducted by Hugh McMillan. Directors are Mary Love and Gillian Jerome.