Thursday, 16 August 2007

Ruddygore: A Case For The Phantasmagorical

Attended a one-man show in the Paxton today. Entitled "Ruddygore: A Case For The Phantasmagorical", it is a look at the origins of Ruddygore (later renamed Ruddigore), touching on the various people involved, how things came together, what influenced the show. Being a one-man show (actually one plus a technical assistant), it has comedic moments such as hiding behind a box and having a conversation with oneself about a telegram, or conducting a dialogue between Rose Maybud and Mad Margaret by sidestepping and facing the other way. Snippets of video, animation, and audio recordings enhance the show. For those new to Gilbert and Sullivan, this is full of fascinating information about how it all began; for those (like me) who already have a great fascination for the show, it's a dramatisation of what might otherwise be a bald and unconvincing paragraph of facts and stats.

The show is in two acts of just under an hour each, covering both the original time of the opera (1887) and the early 20th century revivals, with a look at the alterations in the latter and the increased success Ruddigore then enjoyed. Pace is maintained, and the performance never really flags, even when Nigel is readying himself for the next piece of business - the screen carries the show for a while, with perhaps a set of stills and some musical backing, or possibly a snippet from a Ruddigore cartoon. At the very end, mention is made of what Gilbert started working on after Ruddigore - The Yeomen of the Guard - and the show concludes with its rousing overture.

Nigel Anderson (the man-on-the-stage) and Michael Thompson (technical) have clearly put a huge amount of work into this, and the results reflect it admirably.

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