|Iolanthe > Reviews > Original Run
The success of Messrs. Gilbert and Sullivan's new comic opera cannot be gainsaid. The Savoy — one of the handsomest and most comfortable of all the London theatres — is nightly thronged with an audience eager to applaud, and "Iolanthe" is something to be seen by all playgoers.
The daring manner in which Mr. Gilbert satirises the House of Peers, which at critical periods of the nation's history did nothing "and did it very well," is not one calculated, one would think, to please a West-end audience; but the author is tolerably sure of his public, and what would not be forgiven in another man is readily excused in him.
Of the songs in the new piece there is none so strikingly simple as "Hey, willow waly" or "The magnet and the churn," in "Patience;" but the Lord Chancellor's ditty, with its capital refrain, "Said I to myself, said I," though in some respects an echo of the judge's song in "Trial by Jury," is likely to have great drawing-room popularity.
The acting is capital all round; the old favourites are again fitted with excellent parts, and Mr. Grossmith, Mr. Barrington, and Mr. Richard Temple, who have played in each of the series of Gilbert and Sullivan operas, are well suited.
Miss Leonora Braham and Miss Alice Barnett repeat the success they achieved in "Patience," while the subordinate parts stand out by reason of the care bestowed upon them. Mr. Gilbert is very much of a martinet in stage-management, but he is rewarded by the correctness in every detail which is displayed when his pieces see the light.
Page modified 17 November, 2011 Copyright © 2011 The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive All Rights Reserved.