|Iolanthe > Reviews > No.1 "Iolanthe" Company in Hull
From The Hull Packet and East Riding Times (Hull, England), Friday, May 4, 1883; Issue 5142.
The fairy opera of "Iolanthe," which is being played this week at the Hull Theatre Royal, having achieved throughout the moral victory of large attendances and general well-speaking, it would be an ungenial task, if considered a necessary one, to view it from a lower plane of appreciation. But, in truth, the character of the libretto and of the music is one which only a hypochondriac could altogether cavil at. To say that the opera is sparkling is to use a much hackneyed term, which in this instance does not express enough. From the beginning till the fall of the curtain the stage is literally a circle of glancing light. It takes captive the senses at once, and oven those most disposed to be critical feel inclined to waive all indulgence of it in presence of so much scenic richness and movement.
The conception is certainly a fanciful one, and the way in which mortal jostles with immortal recalls by a mental juxtaposition of ideas the brilliance of life and freshness of colour which moves over the imaginary stage of the Arthurian legends, though here all further comparison ends. Iolanthe, a fairy, marries a mortal, who subsequently becomes Lord Chancellor, and there is issue Strephon, a fairy above the waist and human below it. He is an Arcadian shepherd, in love with Phyllis, a shepherdess, but a ward in Chancery, and also beloved of the Lord Chancellor, and peers of the realm. Opposition arises to the suit of Strephon, and ultimately his mother induces the Queen and her band of fairies to have the youth appointed to the House of Lords [sic], where he has the power to control all the votes. Meantime Phyllis is jealous of Iolanthe, whom she is not aware is a fairy, and mother to Strephon, and who looks seventeen while her son is twenty-five, and the match is broken off. Ultimately all is made to end happily, with the peers and others taking part in the piece being translated into fairies. This outline gives no indication of the consummate drollery of some of the scenes, and there is a particularly whimsical portion given by the Lord Chancellor, before recognising Iolanthe, who is condemned to sequestration at the bottom of a lake by the indignant Queen of the Fairies, for allying herself to a mortal. Space will not permit us to enter into further particulars, but it may be added in a general way that all the parts were excellently taken, the singing being attractive and pleasing in an unusual degree, and the acting just as good.
The opera is preceded by a satirical musical sketch, "Cups and Saucers."
HULL TOWN v. "IOLANTHE" OPERA COMPANY.
A match between the Hull Town Club and an eleven from the "Iolanthe" Company was played yesterday afternoon on the Argle-street ground, and resulted in an easy victory for the home team. The following are the scores:—
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