The Gondoliers

or The King Of Barataria

Louise Gold starred as The Duchess Of Plaza Toro, at The Chichester Festival Theatre, Between 1 May and 23 August 2003 (previews from 26 April)

 

For this year’s season, The Chichester Festival Theatre has extensively altered it’s main house’s stage, building a pool of water underneath. So that, as Jeremy Kingston put it:

 “When the visiting Duke and Duchess of Plaza-Toro (Martin Marquez and Louise Gold) are bemused by what they take to be an unusually wet season, the stage will truly be wetter than ever before.” Jeremy Kingston, THE TIMES, 19 April 2003

However, the Duchess herself, seems to be rather more interested in trying to recapture the fun daring and exciting nature of the show, as she says

 “I am sure there have been some fantastic amateur dramatic production of Gilbert & Sullivan, but when it is not done well, it can seem very boring, just droning on. But when it is done well, you can appreciate the brilliant complexity of the lyrics, how gorgeous the music is and how witty it is.” Louise Gold to Phil Hewitt, THE CHICHESTER OBSERVER, Thursday 24 April 2003, p43

 

Cast

 The Duke Of Plaza Toro, a Grandee of Spain - Martin Marquez

The Duchess of Plaza Toro - Louise Gold

Casilda, their daughter - Alicia Davies

Luiz, their attendent - Steven Fawell

Don Alhambra del Bolero, the Grand Inquisitor - James Saxon*

Inez, a nurse - Nicola Sloane

 

Gianetta - Fiona Dunn

Tessa - Liza Pulman

Contadine

     Fiametta - Julie Barnes

     Vittoria - Deborah Crowe

     Giulia - Sasha Oakley

     Luisa - Nicola Sloane

     Rafaella - Natasha Bain

     Antonella - Katherine O’Shea

     Gianna - Jo Nesbitt

 

Marco Palmieri - Joe Shovelton

Giuseppe Palieri - Jamie Parker

Venetian Gondoliers

     Antonio - Steve Elias

     Francesco - Trevor Conner

     Giorgio - Adam Tedder

     Annibale - Christian Patterson

     Paolo - Benedict Quirke

     Siliviano - Kieran Hill

     Fausto - Neil McDermott

 

Understudies (include):

The Grand Inquisitor - Kieran Hill

 

Production Team

 Book and Lyrics by - W S Gilbert

Music by - Arthur Sullivan

Additional Material - Alistair Beaton

Original Production - 7 December 1889, The Savoy Theatre, London, with Rosina Brandram as The Duchess of Plaza Toro.

Director - Martin Duncan

Designer - Ashley Martin-Davies

Season Installation Designer - Alison Chitty

Choreographer - Jonathan Lunn

Musical Director & Orchestrator - Richard Balcombe

Musical Director - Caroline Humphries

Lighting Designer - Peter Mumford

Sound Designer - Matt McKenzie

Assistant Directors - Martin Constantine & Joe McGann

Assistant Choreographer - Anita Griffin

 

Please click here for a review/account of the show.

 

In the original production of The Gondoliers the role of The Duchess Of Plaza Toro was played by Miss Rosina Brandram, whom Louise Gold portrayed in the film Topsy Turvy. It does not appear to be known whether there has ever been an occurrence before of an actor playing a person in a biopic and then playing a role on stage originated by that person (the closest example so far has been Julie Andrews playing Gertrude Lawrence in the biopic Star, and Anna on a studio cast album of The King & I., but that was only a cast album), if anyone knows of any other examples of this occurrence, do email the webmaster.

Unfortunately during the run of the production James Saxon (who played the role of Don Alhambra del Bolero, the Grand Inquisitor) was taken ill, and died suddenly on 2 July 2003. The role of The Grand Inquisitor was taken over by Kieran Hill for the last six performances.

The majority of the cast (in fact everyone except Martin Marquez, James Saxon, Julie Barnes, Liza Pulman, and, Jamie Parker) also appeared in the Chichester Festival Theatre’s production of The Water Babies. For which Jonathan Lunn was also the choreographer, Caroline Humphris a Musical Director and of course as both shows take place in Chichester’s main house, Alison Chitty was Season Installation Designer for both shows

As The Gondoliers was presented in repertory (with The Merchant Of Venice,  The Water Babies , and, The Seagull) the actual dates of the performances were:

Previews on: 26, 28, 29 and 30 April at 7:30 and 1 May at 2:00

Opening Night: Thursday 1 May 7:30

Performances:

May:         1 at 7:30, 2 at 7:30, 3 at 2:00 & 7:30, 6 at 7:30, 7 at 7:30, 8 at 2:00 & 7:30, 9 at 7:30, 10 at 2:00 & 7:30, 12 at 7:30, 13 at 7:30, 14 at 7:30, 15 at 2:00 & 7:30, 16 at 7:30, 17 at 2:00 & 7:30, 19 at 7:30, 20 at 7:30, 21 at 7:30, 22 at 2:00 & 7:30, 23 at 7:30, 24 at 2:00 & 7:30, 27 at 7:30, 28 at 7:30, 29 at 2:00 & 7:30, 30 at 7:30, 31 at 2:00 & 7:30

June:         20 at 7:30, 21 at 2:00 & 7:30, 23 at 7:30, 24 at 7:30, 25 at 7:30, 26 at 2:00 & 7:30

July:          4 at 7:30, 5 at 2:00 & 7:30

August:      9 at 7:30, 17 at 4:00, and 23 at 7:30.

Pre Show Talk on 6 May at 5:30

Post Show Discussion on 8 May

 

Trevor Conner, Deborah Crowe, Fiona Dunn, Steve Elias, Steven Fawell, Louise Gold, Jo Nesbitt, Katherine O’Shea, Sasha Oakley, Jamie Parker, Christian Patterson, Benedict Quirke, Joe Shovelton and Nicola Sloane took part in Final Chic Cabaret 2003 towards the end of the season (The Gondoliers had already finished by that time).

Louise Gold and Alicia Davies ended their work on 2003’s Chichester festival season by appearing in a fundraising show Curtain Up at Chichester’s Minerva Theatre.

Having been one of Chichester’s 2003 season’s stars, Louise Gold returned to The Chichester Festival Theatre in December 2003 to co-host the Christmas Concerts 2003

Louise Gold’s previous experience with the work of Gilbert & Sullivan on stage includes: The Pirates Of Penzance and The Metropolitan Mikado. She has also appeared in two G&S films, namely The Pirates Of Penzance and Topsy Turvy, in the latter she played Miss Rosina Brandram. She has sung their work (briefly) on two albums Topsy Turvy (Film Soundtrack) and Defiant Dames. She has also performed a bit of G&S in her cabaret act LOUISE GOLD...By Appointment.

Louise Gold and Liza Pulman have both made notable appearances in G&S spoofs. Ms Gold in The Metropolitan Mikado and Ms Pulman in Hollywood Pinafore.

Quite a few other members of the cast also had previous G&S experience:

Joseph Shovelton, Steven Fawell and Trevor Conner ’s previous G&S experience included a spell in a Doyly Carte, they all appeared together in a production of H.M.S. Pinafore, as Ralph Rackstraw, a tenor, and a bass respectively, which funnily enough Martin Duncan also directed. They all seem to have been in productions of The Mikado at some point or another as well. And Steven Fawell has also been in Iolanthe and The Yeoman Of The Guard.

Other cast members who’ve had spells in The Doyly Carte include: Deborah Crowe (The Mikado and H.M.S. Pinafore and somewhere in her career she’s also played Casilda in The Gondoliers), Liza Pulman (La Vie Parisienne), Benedict Quirke (Iolanthe, The Yeoman Of The Guard, The Mikado, and, H.M.S. Pinafore)

Joseph Shovelton has also appeared in productions of: Box & Cox (G&S Opera Co in Buxton), H.M.S. Pinafore (G&S Opera Co in Buxton), H.M.S. Pinafore (Opera della Luna), Trial By Jury, and, The Pirates Of Penzance. He has played Ralph Rackstaw in at least three different productions of H.M.S. Pinafore.

Liza Pulman has appeared in The Mikado (Carl Rosa Opera Company)

Fiona Dunn has appeared in productions of The Pirates Of Penzance (Regents Park Open Air Theatre) and H.M.S. Pinafore (Opera della Luna)

Katherine O’Shea has appeared in H.M.S. Pinafore (Concordia Theatre Company) on board The QEII.

While Nicola Sloane’s previous G&S experience includes a previous production of The Gondoliers at The Bristol Old Vic, where she played Inez!

Additional material for The Gondoliers is provided by Alistair Beaton, who’s previous writing credits include: The G&S Spoofs The Ratepayers’ Iolanthe and The Metropolitan Mikado, and their concert of highlight’s from the Ratepayers’ Iolanthe & The Metropolitan Mikado. He also wrote for the mega-flop stage musical Ziegfeld (stage show), some of his work appears on the album Ziegfeld (recording). His other writing credits include a variety of political satirical pieces both for stage and television, including the satirical TV puppet show Spitting Image.

James Saxon’s television credits include some involvement with David Claridge’s Roland Rat The Series, which coincidentally Louise Gold puppeteered on.

Martin Marquez’s television credits include playing a Detective Sergeant in The Bill.

Alicia Davies, Fiona Dunn and Louise Gold have previously appeared in The Regent’s Park 70th Anniversary Gala. Alicia Davies was a member of the cast of their production of Oh What A Lovely War, Fiona Dunn was in their production of The Pirates Of Penzance, and Louise Gold was in their production of The Boys From Syracuse.

Louise Gold and Fiona Dunn had previously appeared together in Of Thee I Sing

 Louise Gold and Liza Pulman have previously appeared together in Oh Kay and A Lost Musicals Occasion

Richard Balcome’s conducting credits include The Great Musicals - Wonderful Tales, The Great Musicals – Glamour And Majesty, The Great Musicals – Dashing Heroes, Blushing Maidens, and, The Great Musicals – Laughter And Tears.

Joe McGann had previously taken part in Thing A Thon, which Caroline Humphries may also have contributed to.

Louise Gold has also previously appeared at The Chichester Festival Theatre in the David Kernan revue Noel/Cole: Let’s Do It, and, an RSC touring production of The Cherry Orchard

Coincidentally Louise Gold is not the only member of her theatrically-oriented family to have played Chichester, twenty four years earlier her mother appeared in George Bernard Shaw’s The Devil’s Disciple, and George S Kaufman & Moss Hart’s The Man Who Came To Dinner in Chichester’s 1979 season.

Louise Gold, and, Christian Patterson went on to appear together in Oliver!

 

Critics Comments

 “Louise Gold makes the husband-taming Duchess of Plaza-Toro a vivacious termagant.” Michael Billington, THE GUARDIAN, Saturday 3 May 2003.

   “They even had time for some updated lyrics mentioning Chris Tarrant and New Labour” Michael Coveney, DAILY MAIL, 2 May 2003.

 If there are any casting quibbles, I would target Martin Marquez as the Duke of Plaza-Toro, the principal comedic interest. He is not a natural comedian and makes heavy weather of his patter songs. As his wife, the ever-reliable Louise Gold, helps out but is woefully under-used.” Stephen Gilchrist, WHATSONSTAGE.COM, 2 May 2003

 “Martin Marquez and Louise Gold are on magnificent form as the Duke and Duchess of Plaza-Toro, never more so than in their satirical duet Small titles and orders (with some new topical material added)” John Gross, SUNDAY TELEGRAPH, 4 May 2003.

 “Good fun, too comes with Martin Marquez and Louise Gold as the dodgy Duke and Duchess, on their uppers, greedy for position, and ever ready with a few marital barbs.” Phil Hewitt, THE WEST SUSSEX GASSETTE, Thursday 8 May, p11 & THE CHICHESTER OBSERVER, Thursday 8 May 2003, p44

 “Comedy is the main is provided by Martin Marquez,..., as the Duke. ... by the second act he was in fine form and no more so than in ‘Small Titles and Orders’, that had an extra contemporary verse added by Alistair Beaton ... and a lovely theatrical in-joke involving Harold Pinter. Equally comic but sadly underused was Louise Gold, as the Duchess.” Barrie Jerram, MUSICAL STAGES, Issue 39 Autumn 2003, p30

 “Martin Manquez establishes the absurdity of the Duke of Plaza-Toro without reducing him to a total poltroon. Louise Gold gives a raging battle-axe performance as his Duchess.” Jeremy Kingston, THE TIMES, 3 May 2003.

 “From a wealth of fine performances, three in particular deserve mention. Louise Gold is impressively haughty as the Duchess, while Alicia Davies makes a sweet-voiced Spanish princess and is more than matched in the truculence stakes by Liza Pulman’s Tessa.” Fiona Mountford, THE EVENING STANDARD, 7 May 2003, p44.

 “Louise Gold, Duchess, I thought came over well but did not have that richness of contralto tone of, for instance, Ella Halman.” Peter D Parker, SAVOYNET mailing list, 1 June 2003.

 “James Saxon’s Grand Inquisitor and the Ducal family - Martin Marquez, Louise Gold and Alicia Davies - provide fun and not a little threat.” Sandy Sell, THE STAGE, 8 May 2003.

  “The performances sparkle, I was particularly taken by James Saxon as a hugely fat and corrupt Grand Inquisitor, and Martin Marquez, Louise Gold and the deliciously pert Alicia Davies as the Spanish aristos.” Charles Spencer, DAILY TELEGRAPH, 3 May 2003.

 

Links about The Gondoliers

Chichester Festival Theatre: http://www.cft.org.uk/  See in particular: http://www.cft.org.uk/cgi-bin/archive.pl#1045215855 for production details, http://www.cft.org.uk/cgi-bin/review.pl?key=1045215855 for reviews of the production and http://www.cft.org.uk/extras/gondoliers_pics.htm for pictures from the production. Also see: http://www.cft.org.uk/ensemble/index.shtml# for ensemble resumes.

Whatsonestage.com page about the production: http://www.whatsonstage.com/dl/page.php?page=details&id=L0335352026   See in particular: http://www.whatsonstage.com/dl/page.php?page=greenroom&story=E8821051890079  for a review (by Stephen Gilchrist of the production

The Times, review (part of) by Jeremy Kingston: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,1445-646119,00.html

The Guardian, review by Michael Billington (don’t let that put you off): http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/reviews/story/0,11712,948599,00.html

The Financial Times, very short review: http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&StoryFT&cid=1051389783677&p=1016625900929

Ian Shuttleworth’s review, written for The Financial Times: http://www.cix.co.uk/~shutters/reviews/03022.htm

Theatre World Internet Magazine, reviews for The Gondoliers and The Water Babies: http://members.aol.com/mouseuk/stage/southrev.htm

Horsham Today, article about the forthcoming production of The Gondoliers: http://www.horshamtoday.co.uk/custom_pages/CustomPage.asp?Page=652

A Gilbert And Sullivan Website’s listing of G&S productions for June 2003: http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/sandham/may1.htm

Review of Liza Pulman’s performance in the G&S Spoof Hollywood Pinafore : http://www.qsulis.demon.co.uk/Reviews/Lost_Musicals_1998_Review.htm

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