DATE 27th February 2020
SOCIETY Rochdale Phoenix Operatic Society
VENUE The Curtain Theatre
PRODUCER Peter Shellard & Anita Stuttard


Author: Claire Ashworth


It was lovely to see such a mix of ages on the stage for this production. I do enjoy a Gilbert & Sullivan production for all the tongue in cheek moments and I have to say that Lindsay Lowe as Buttercup brought them in bucket loads. She played to the audience perfectly and the comedic side of her character was evident from the word go. On a personal note, costume wise, I enjoyed her sparkly heel stage shoes they added a certain panache to her performance. She was a great foil for Steven Miller as Captain Corcoran and certainly kept the choreography in step during their dance sections.

Lawrence Shoebridge as Ralph Rackstraw was ably partnered by Gwen Hallam Friedrich as Josephine, their vocals were pleasant together and they portrayed the chemistry needed for their roles. There were a few prompts on the evening that I attended, but it did not detract from the overall performance. I thoroughly enjoyed the chemistry between Nick Lowe ( Sir Joseph) and Pat Smithies (Hebe). Nick was every inch the pampered, indulged, pompous nobleman and Gwen his simpering lustful cousin. They had worked hard on their characterisations and never once did they slip even when they were not the centre of attention. Tim Keiley as Dick Deadeye was great to watch, he was obviously fully immersed in his character and was enjoying himself. I even found myself feeling quite sorry for him so it is fair to say he did his job and he made me believe him.

The chorus is well used in this production and they kept up a great energy throughout, they danced and sang with gusto and charm. I couldn’t see the Musical Director Jon Gibson or the orchestra from where I was sat, but I can say that they made a great sound that the audience fully enjoyed. The costumes were bright and in keeping with the piece, the set and lighting worked well together.

Well Done Everyone, I look forward to seeing you all again soon.