|Iolanthe > Reviews > "E" Company in Douglas
The Isle of Man Times and General Advertiser (Douglas, England), Saturday, July 19, 1884; Issue 1209.
THE GRAND THEATRE. — Represented by a splendid company, and staged in a manner which surpasses even all former great efforts at this theatre, the production of "Iolanthe" on Monday night at the Grand must be regarded as one of the events of the season. Yet, notwithstanding the greatness of this attraction, we have to record the fact that out of a large audience there were scarcely a dozen local people. It is difficult to understand why this should be so, and why the people of the Island are so slow to recognize the advantage of seeing the best pieces of the day produced in a manner second only to that of the best London theatres, and quite equal to that of the best theatres in the large provincial towns. Here was put before the local public one of the finest productions of such men as Gilbert and Sullivan, placed on the stage with magnificent scenery, played by a company of splendid talent; and yet the local people present on the opening night could have been counted on the fingers of both hands. True, on Tuesday night, there was a larger attendance of residents, but that was owing to the fact that the leading people of Castletown had made up a party; and it is a fact that, had it not been for the crowds of visitors who had swarmed into the house the engagement of this company must have been a financial failure.
We have not space to go into the plot of "Iolanthe," but briefly we may say that the "motive" of the production is to show the absurdity of the pretensions and claims of the law and the peerage, and this is done by means of a fairy tale in which, "Iolanthe" is the heroine. Mr. Gilbert, the author, has fairly revelled in his subject, the piece abounding in humour and pathos; while Mr. Sullivan [sic] has united the words to music which entitles the production to take rank amongst the classics. Mr. Richard Weathersby as the "Lord Chancellor," who sits in court all day, giving agreeable girls away, is wonderfully telling. The peerage, in the characters of "The Earl of Mountararat" and "The Earl of Tolloller," finds admirable exponents in Mr. Robert Fairbanks and Mr. J. Duncan Young. Mr. Ferdinand Thieler made a great hit as "Private Willis," while the character of "Strephon" could not possibly have been in better hands than those of Mr. Albert Christian.
"The Queen of the Fairies" was represented by Miss Isabelle Muncey, whose fine presence enabled her to give due dignity to the part, and whose fine voice was admirably adapted to the music placed at her disposal. Miss Millie Vere was the "Iolanthe," and Miss Bessie Wilkinson the "Phyllis," and charming renditions they gave of their respective parts. The choruses were admirably given, and in every respect the rendering of the music was satisfactory. We have never sat out a piece with greater pleasure. We must not omit a word of recognition to the band, which supplied the instrumental music in a faultless manner. "Patience" will be provided next week.
The Era (London, England), Saturday, July 19, 1884; Issue 2391.
GRAND THEATRE. – Manager, Mr. Alfred Hemming. – The management here made a decided hit in the engagement of Mr. D'Oyly Carte's opera company with Iolanthe. This is the first time this deservedly popular opera has been performed here. The scenery was good, the company was clever, and altogether the bill of fare for the week was very good. Under the management of Mr. Hemming the Grand Theatre is a great success. Patience and Youth are coming.
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