Sunday’s concert at 2.30 was given by the formidable talents of Simon Butteriss and Jeff Clarke.
A very good turnout by members and visitors made for an extra-appreciative audience. Simon had no difficulty in being heard at the back! His theatrical attack and breakneck delivery of some of the famous patter songs (John Wellington Wells and The Nightmare Song) left one feeling breathless on his behalf. But what a treat as well to have possibly the best accompanist for Simon’s talents – the dexterous Jeff Clarke, driving force of Opera della Luna. A section from their devised show "Nightmare Songs" was delivered with flair and panache.
How lucky the world of Gilbert & Sullivan is to have such committed professionals who have done so much to further the development of the Savoy Operas. Every number was performed with spontaneity and bravado – the interplay between the two performers working particularly well. They have both spent a life “treading the boards” and their easy manner before an audience is self-evident.
I’m not sure if Simon’s expletives were entirely appropriate for a chapel setting! The theatre, however, is a place of rough and tumble, and his risqué stories probably required strong language. No-one, fortunately, seemed unduly concerned at the lack of a bleeper!
It was good to hear a couple of numbers from Florodora (1899, music by Leslie Stuart) : "Phrenology" and "The Shade of the Palm". The inclusion too of the famous Noel Coward number "A Bar on the Piccolo Marina" was another highlight. So many lyricists owe a debt, either conscious or otherwise, to W.S. Gilbert.
The Society is indebted to performers from the mainstream world of G&S who give up a day off to share with us their knowledge and enjoyment of one of the greatest theatrical partnerships of all time.