Summer festivals are always somewhat dependant on the weather playing ball. Last night’s Performance of Iolanthe at the Festival Theatre Hever Castle, enjoyed the perfection of a still summers evening, and Charles Court Opera gave us a most entertaining of renditions.

The fairies were light and playful, while the Lord Chancellor, Richard Stuart, added the weightiness of the judiciary without being dull for one second. His experience as diction coach for the ENO ensured that not a word of the patter songs was lost. No need for surtitles in this performance even if one was not a G&S enthusiast knowing all the words of the whole operetta by heart, as I suspect a lot of the audience were.

The director John Savournin and choreographer Jo Meredith, made sure there were no dull patches with anyone simply standing and singing, though nothing was distracting, upstaging the main action, as can happen. Points of stillness were all the more moving.

The quality of the voices on stage was exceptional throughout. Any performance by this company is not to be missed.

Sally Hick

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