1999 – Yeomen Of The Guard

The Yeomen Of The Guard

(or The Merryman and His Maid)

by W.S.Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan.

 

Monday, 10th May to Saturday, 15th May, 1999
The Spadesbourne Suite, Burcot Lane, Bromsgrove.

The Yeomen Of The Guard saw a return to the works of Gilbert and Sullivan after a four year absence, and a return of Roberta Morell as director.

Cast And Credits

 

 

  • Stage Director: Roberta Morrell
  • Musical Director: Alan Biddle
  • Elsie Maynard (A Strolling Singer): Sue Thomas
  • Jack Point (A Strolling Jester): J. Paul Murdock
  • Coloner Fairfax (Under Sentence Of Death): Mike Faulkner
  • Sergent Meryll (Of The Yeomen Of The Guard): George Brooks
  • Phoebe Meryll (Sergent Meryll’s Daughter): Lynda Dunn
  • Leonard Meryll (Sergent Meryll’s Son): Roger Hanke
  • Dame Carruthers (Housekeeper Of The Tower): Sue Bills
  • Wilfred Shadbolt (Head Jailer): Malcolm Dunn
  • Sir Richard Cholmondeley (Lieutenant Of The Tower): Ian G. Cox
  • Kate (Dame Carruthers’ Niece): Jan Harvey
  • 1st Yeoman: Arthur Bowkett
  • 2nd Yeoman: David Holland
  • 1st Citizen: Roger Hanke
  • 2nd Citizen: Dave Shaw
  • The Priest: Derek Lamb
  • The Headsman: Ron Perry

 

Synopsis

 

Colonel Fairfax, a recognised war hero, is to be executed on Tower Green – falsely accused of sorcery by a relative who stands to inherit his estate. Sergeant Meryll awaits the return of his son, Leonard, from the wars, hoping that he will bring with him a reprieve for the Colonel. When Leonard returns with no reprieve the two of them along with Sergeant Meryll’s daughter, Phoebe, hatch a plan to rescue the Colonel from the tower. Whilst being transfered to the death cell, Fairfax requests that Sir Richard Cholmondeley, the Lieutenant of the Tower find him a wife for his last hours of life and thus thwart his relative’s ploy.

Meanwhile, two travelling players, Jack point and Elsie Maynard, arrive at the Tower to put on a show in the hope of raising some money to help Elsie’s sick mother. After their performance the crowds get over-boisterous, and when the Lieutenant arrives to restore order he offers Elsie the opportuninity to marry the condemned man for a payment of 100 crowns. Elsie, in need of the money, agrees to the plan and is led away blindfolded to marry a man she will never see.

Phoebe, using her powers over the infatuated head jailer, Shadbolt, manages to free Fairfax, and, with the real Leonard in hidding, Fairfax takes on his identity. When the execution is due to take place his absence is discovered.

Two days have passed with no sign of the prisoner. Shadbolt is desperate to clear his name, and Point wants the hand of (the now married) Elsie, so they decide to lie and claim to have shot the fleeing prisoner. The disguised Fairfax discovers that it is Elsie that he has married, but cannot tell her who he is. Point attempts to woo Elsie, but Fairfax ridicules him and, showing him how it should be done, wins her heart instead. Shadbolt realises what is going on when Phoebe becomes jealous of Elsie and Fairfax disguised as Leonard. In order to keep the secret, Phoebe agrres to marry Shadbolt.

The Real Leonard now returns with Fairfax’s reprieve, and Fairfax is now able to reveal his true identity. Dame Carruthers, the Tower housekeeper, learns of the plot and uses the information to force Sergeant Meryll to marry her. When Elsie is told that the man that she married is still alive she can no longer marry Leonard she resigns herself to life with her husband. She is overjoyed, however, when they meet and she finds out that they are the same person.

This only leaves the heart-broken Jack Point…

Song List

 

Act 1:

  • When Maiden Loves She Sits And Sighs (Phoebe)
  • Tower Warders Under Orders (Citezens & Yeomen)
  • This Is The Autumn Of Our Life (2nd Yeoman & Chorus)
  • When Our Gallant Norman Foes (Dame Carruthers & Yeomen)
  • Alas! I Waver To And Fro (Phoebe, Leonard, & Sergeant Meryll)
  • Is Life A Boon? (Colonel Fairfax)
  • Here’s A Man Of Jollity! (Crowd, Elsie & Point)
  • I Have A Song To Sing, O! (Elsie & Point)
  • How Say You Maiden, Will You Wed? (Elsie, Point & Lieutenant)
  • I’ve Jibe And Joke And Quip And Crank (Point)
  • ‘Tis Done! I Am A Bride! (Elsie)
  • Were I Thy Bride (Phoebe)
  • Oh, Sergeant Meryll, Is It True? (All)

Act 2:

  • Night Has Spread Her Pall Once More (Chorus)
  • Warders Are We (Dame Carruthers)
  • Oh! A Private Buffoon (Point)
  • Hereupon We’re Both Agreed (Point & Shadbolt)
  • Free From His Fetters Grim (Colonel Fairfax)
  • Strange Adventure (Kate, Dame Carruthers, Fairfax & Sergeant Meryll)
  • Hark! What Was That, Sir? (Elsie, Phoebe, Dame Carruthers, Fairfax, Wilfred, Point, Lietenant, Sergeant Meryll & Chorus)
  • A Man Who Would Woo A Fair Maiden (Elsie, Phoebe & Fairfax)
  • When A Wooer Goes A Woo-ing (Elsie, Phoebe, Fairfax & Point)
  • Come The Pretty Young Bride (All)

What The Press Said

 

The Yeomen Of The Guard

An exceptional Yeoman and everyone involved should be thrilled with it. Roberta Morrell’s imaginative and innovative production was a joy. Crowd and chorus scenes were particularly impressive and every principle was excellent. To enjoy G&S to the full it is essential that every word spoken or sung is heard and the cast fully met this requirement. It would be totally unfair to single out any principle as every part, small and large was superbly played. The orchestra, sets, and costumes matched the high standards of the production and performance. Congratulations BOS it was superb.

Review by Trevor Guest for NODA News, 1999

Time to salute energetic cast

A lively performance of The Yeomen of the Guard by the cast members of Bromsgrove Operatic Society delighted the Spadesbourne Suite audience.

With a backdrop of the Tower of London plus colourful costumes, Gilbert and Sullivan’s occasionally raucous tale of unrequited love was brought to life through dance and song.

The cast of beefeaters, peasants and gentry, in bright and authentic costume, were very professional and everyone on stage was in high spirits.

Special mentions go to producer Roberta Morrell, the orchestra, conducted by Alan Biddle, and Sue Thomas, who, as Elsie Maynard, stole the show with her sweet voice.

I also enjoyed J.Paul Murdock’s energetic performance as Jack Point, the crazy jester.

Review by Sarah Chambers for the Bromsgrove Messenger, 27th May 1999

Bravo to performers

Through your paper I would like to congratulate Bromsgrove Operatic Society on its recent production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Yeoman of the Guard.

I was among a party which thoroughly enjoyed a really good evening’s entertainment, performed at a truly professional level.

The performance was polished and sparkling. The musicians were sensitive to the changing moods of the work, the set and costumes were excellent, the principals most accomplished in their roles and obviously supported by an excellent team both on and off the stage. On leaving the Spadesbourne Suite, all one could overhear were comments of congratulation and enjoyment.

With a local society performing at this standard, one has no need to travel further afield.

Mrs K Pitt – Letter to the Bromsgrove Messenger, 27th May 1999