Gilbert and Sullivan’s operettas are extremely challenging for all involved. They have large casts that require solid and disciplined direction to ensure the stories are communicated effectively, not to mention the logistics of getting large groups of people on and off the stage for each scene. Likewise, the difficult scoreschallenge the most adept musical directors to ensure the lyrics are communicated, since most of the story is portrayed through the songs.
Perhaps due to a mid-week performance, the production of “The Yeoman of the Guard” felt understated and uneven in the delivery, and sometimes the cast seemed to be struggling to project over the musicians. With a very convoluted plot, it is essential that the cast heighten their performances and the lyrics can be heard. Marli van der Bijl as Phoebe Meryll is always excellent and did the best with the role she played, however Chad Henderson as Colonel Fairfax (though vocally superb) did not seem to revel in the doubling of being disguised as Leonard Meryll. Liam Auhl as Jack Point did heighten his physicality, which is essential for the role, and received much applause from the audience.
Emily Schinkel as Elsie, Glenn Rowa as Sergeant Meryll, Ross Bryant as Wilfred Shadbolt, Max Page as Sir Richard Cholmondeley and Cam East as the real Leonard Merryl each delivered good performances. Avalon Rector as Dame Carruthers was at ease in this genre, and there were glimpses of the extraordinary vocal talent of Paris Ceglinski as Kate.
The set designed and constructed by Barry Boyd is minimal and functional to allow for several scene changes. Costumes by wardrobe mistress Veronica Hudson and her team are beautifully made and coordinated for the large cast .
“The Yeoman of the Guard” enjoyed a nearly sold out season at the Dolphin Theatre at UWA from 24 October until 2 November 2019.