Gilbert and Sullivan in Brief(s)

Pleasance Courtyard

Theatre Reviewed by Thom Dibdin

Gilbert and Sullivan played with stock characters to great effect - and so does writer and director Ray Cullom in this race-against-time recreation of all 14 of G&S's light operas in 70 minutes.

The only one which gets the full treatment is Mikado, with the plot outlined - if not explained - through a five-minute medley of all the show's songs. Which, while hugely entertaining, makes you glad that Cullom hasn't simply done the same for them all. Not that he could of course - the music for Thespis, their first collaboration and a flop, is lost.

Elsewhere, Cullom rings the changes, allowing each of the four performers to both play with their characters and take turns in jumping through plot and songs. There is plenty of playing with the character traits of those who like G&S too, as well as light explanations of the differing roles of the characters and kinds of song.

The overall result is a production which is both concentrated, by virtue of volume of content, and unsatisfyingly light, scraping the surface and never really getting to the nub of any of the operas. There is no question that it is not impeccably performed, however, with all four singers providing versatile and necessarily nimble vocal performances.

Published online
Review by
Thom Dibdin
Produced by
Ingenious Paradox/Nick Brooke Productions/Pleasance Theatre Trust
Writer and director
Ray Cullom
Accompanist/Musical Director
Charles Czarnecki
Running time
1 hour 10 minutes
View more production details