THE YEOMEN OF THE GUARD
April 28th to May 6th, 2023
A comic operetta by William S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan
Directed by Kyle Gould
Music Directed by Winnifred Hume
Choreographed by Mya Swedburg
The show takes place in the Tower of London where Colonel Fairfax is wrongly accused of sorcery and sentenced to death within the hour. Fairfax hatches a plan to secretly marry a strolling singer, who now expects to be a wealthy widow upon Fairfax’s imminent demise, leaving her free to marry her lover, the jester Jack Point. However, Fairfax miraculously escapes his fate and chaos ensues.
A darker tale
Much like other Gilbert librettos, the cast of this operetta is a lovely lot – in the sense of everyone seems to be in love with one another! Set at the Tower of London, Sergeant Meryll, of the titular Yeomen of the Guard, lives with his daughter, Phœbe Meryll. At the beginning of our tale, Phœbe has gained the eye of the Jailor, Wilfred Shadbolt. Wilfred, of course, has noticed who Phœbe has her eye on: Colonel Fairfax, a much grander man. Unfortunately, he’ll be a much less pretty picture without a head, as his execution is scheduled the same day.
Hatching a daring plan involving her brother Leonard impersonating the Colonel, this is suddenly interrupted by the arrival of Jack Point and Elsie Maynard, a duo of performers. Jack, of course, is infatuated with Elsie, so when the Lieutenant of the tower asks if Elsie wishes to marry Fairfax to negate her family’s financial strife, she relents.
…and all that happens within the first few scenes of Act 1. You might notice a grand total of five in our lovestruck cast: Phœbe, Wilfred, Fairfax, Jack and Elsie. Five, notoriously, is not a number which couples up easily. One of this number doesn’t get their happy ending – a rarity amongst Gilbert & Sullivan’s works!