Arthur Sullivan William Schwenck Gilbert
Conductor, Timothy Henty
Director, Cal McCrystal
Cal McCrystal directs a joyful new production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s hilarious satirical fantasy, Iolanthe.
Opens Tuesday 13 February at 7.30pm at the London Coliseum (14 performances)
Acclaimed comedy director Cal McCrystal – the mastermind behind some of the most celebrated comic scenes in theatre (One Man, Two Guvnors) and film (Paddington,Paddington 2, The Dictator and The World’s End) – makes his ENO debut with a new production of Iolanthe. Gilbert and Sullivan’s hilarious satire on British government, law and society features a stellar cast, including comedy legend Andrew Shore, who has performed some of ENO’s most memorable roles. ENO Harewood Artists Samantha Price sings in the title role and Barnaby Rea performs as Private Willis.
The first Gilbert and Sullivan opera that ENO performed in January 1962 (on the day on which the D’Oyly Carte monopoly ended) – Iolanthe is a brilliantly funny, satirical fantasy, revealing a typically Gilbert and Sullivan topsy-turvy worldview. Phyllis and Strephon wish to marry, but as she is a ward of court she requires the Lord Chancellor’s permission. He, however, wants her for himself. With madcap fairies in the Palace of Westminster and honourable members of The Lords in Arcadia, when Strephon turns out to be the son of The Lord Chancellor and the exiled fairy Iolanthe, all is cast into confusion. Iolanthe is a joyful show featuring flying fairies, quarrelsome lords, an ensemble of quirky characters and even stand-up comedy. This brand new production marries opera with theatre and comedy like never before.
Following the huge success of Mike Leigh’s The Pirates of Penzance (which broke ENO box office records upon its premiere in 2015) and the enduring popularity of Jonathan Miller’s The Mikado (a true audience favourite that has been revived 13 times in 28 years), ENO has become the foremost exponent of imaginative, witty stagings of these timeless British classics. Cal McCrystal’s new production ofIolanthe, with Gilbert and Sullivan expert Timothy Henty leading the ENO Orchestra, looks set to further bolster ENO’s reputation as the premier home for the works of this great comic pairing.
ENO’s international reputation for working with exciting directors from across a wide range of artistic disciplines has offered a fresh perspective and unique approach. Cal McCrystal is the latest artistic talent to apply his skills to the world of opera. Previous directors ENO has worked with include Mike Leigh, Terry Gilliam, Anthony Minghella, Rufus Norris, Carrie Cracknell and Fiona Shaw.