Gilbert and Sullivan Archive

Dramatis Personæ


The Fairy Ethiais Mr. Claude Flemming
The Fairy Phyllon Mr. Leo Sheffield
Selene (the Fairy Queen) Miss Nancy McIntosh
Darine Miss Maidie Hope
Zayda Miss Jessie Rose
Locrine Miss Ethel Morrison
Zara Miss Mabel Burnege
Cora Miss Rita Otway
Lila Miss Ruby Grey
Neodie Miss Alice Cox
Fleta Miss Marjorie Dawes
Chloris Miss Gladys Lancaster
Maia Miss Miriam Lycett
Clytie Miss Isabel Agnew


Lutis (a Serving Fairy) Mr. C. Herbert Workman


Sir Ethais (Hunnish Knight) Mr. Claude Flemming
Sir Phyllon (Hunnish Knight) Mr. Leo Sheffield
Lutin (Sir Ethais's Henchman) Mr. C. Herbert Workman

Of the cast, C. H. Workman and Ethel Morrison would renew their association with the operas of Edward German when they both appeared in the belated Australian professional premiere of Merrie England, first staged by J. C. Williamson Ltd. at Her Majesty's Theatre, Melbourne on 18th November, 1921. Workman created the role of Walter Wilkins while Miss Morrison created that of Queen Elizabeth. Both Workman and Miss Morrison also sang G & S roles on tour in Australia and New Zealand with the J. C. Williamson Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Co. at different times. (The former, in spite of Gilbert's directive forbidding him to appear in any future productions of his stage works after incurring his considerable wrath during Fallen Fairies.) Some eight years after Gilbert's death, Rupert D'Oyly Carte wrote to Workman in Australia, (where he had lived since 1914), as follows:

We intend to present Gilbert and Sullivan at the Savoy again, and if we knew you would be coming to London, we would await your arrival, so that your reappearance and the revival of Gilbert and Sullivan opera might be made two important simultaneous events. You will, of course, play all your old parts. Excellent news, this, if it materialises.

Workman, however, declined the offer preferring to remain in Australia and so Henry Lytton, (who had toured the U.K. as lead comedian of the D'Oyly Carte Principal Repertory Opera Company since 1909), was subsequently given the chance to play the 'patter' roles in the 1919 - 20 London revivals, staged at the larger Princes Theatre, to great acclaim. (Given that Workman was eight years younger than Lytton, one could speculate that Rupert D'Oyly Carte initially considered that Lytton at 54 was too old for some of the roles - especially the 'romantically' inclined Bunthorne, Jack Point and, in later seasons, Robin Oakapple.)

Australian Claude Flemming, (who hailed from the New South Wales country town of Camden), made his stage début in 1903 and enjoyed a varied stage career of nearly fifty years which included playing lead roles in Shakespeare and straight drama in both Australia and England, (where he first appeared on tour with Beerbohm Tree's Company); grand opera at Covent Garden, (Die Meistersinger, The Angelus); and musical comedy and operetta in the West End, New York and on tour in his homeland for J. C. Williamson Ltd., (The Chocolate Soldier, The Maid of the Mountains, A Southern Maid, The Firefly, The Cousin From Nowhere, Sybil, Lilac Time, etc.) His last stage role was that of Col. Buffalo Bill in the Australian premiere of Annie Get Your Gun, which toured for three years following its Melbourne opening in 1947.

Leo Sheffield followed up his appearance in Fallen Fairies touring in West End musical comedies and operettas for the next ten years, including The Chocolate Soldier and The Girl in the Taxi. He reappeared briefly in the West End in 1913 as Feste in a revival of Twelfth Night staged by Beerbohm Tree at His Majesty's. Having played small parts for the D'Oyly Carte in the 1906 -7 season at the Savoy, and featured roles in the 1908 -9 season, Sheffield returned to the company as a celebrated portrayer of the 'Pooh-Bah' roles between 1919 and 1930, many of which he recorded for H.M.V.'s complete G. & S. opera sets between 1924 - 29.

Page created August 16, 2011