Gilbert and Sullivan Archive
Philadelphia Diary, 1996
Day Seven: Friday, July 26
The Gondoliers, Hancock County, Maine
The G&S Society of Hancock County, Maine, won the grand prize at the innaugural G&S Festival with their performance of Utopia Limited. The group had not intended to return this year, but when a group from Washington, D.C. (and their promised production of The Grand Duke) dropped out, Hancock County graciously stepped into the breech.
This was a wonderful production, which many accounted the best Gondoliers they'd ever seen. It featured the best ensemble playing we'd observed all week, with the chorus fully integrated into the action. The adjudicator correctly noted the great warmth that always comes across in this Society's productions. In the opening chorus, for example, there was a beautiful showing of red and white roses, which were used to great advantage in a dance around the Maypole.
Highlights among the cast included a lecherous Giuseppe and a bright, perky Tessa. The Ducal Party spoke in Spanish accents, some more believable than others. I didn't take detailed notes at the time, but I concluded that the production was "greater than the sum of its parts."
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