A-peering as if by magic...

Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe

Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe

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The Lord Chancellor, the Queen of the Fairies and Private Willis of the Grenadier Guards will all be on parade at Lytham Hall next Tuesday evening, July 14, as Illyria stage the third play of the outdoor season, Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe.

Gilbert and Sullivan’s most magical comic opera is set half in Fairyland, half in Westminster. Written in 1878, its surprisingly topical and waspish satire pokes fun at Love, Class and The House of Lords, whilst many believe its sumptuous harmonies to be the most beautiful Sullivan wrote.

For me, Lytham Hall is always one of the highlights of our tours

Illyria will use a versatile cast of just six to bring Oliver Gray’s production to Lytham Hall at the start of a challenging tour which will see performances at 36 different venues in just 44 days.

Illyria stalwart William Finkenrath feels that after opening performances in Hampshire and at Ness Botanic Gardens on the Wirral the cast will be relishing the glorious setting in Lytham.

“For me, Lytham Hall is always one of the highlights of our tours. Last summer I played Macbeth, so Iolanthe with Fairies and Lords is a complete contrast and is wickedly satirical. The House of Lords would feel uncomfortable today, 133 years after it was first performed! ” he said.

Illyria’s Taming of the Shrew, the second show of the four-play season, took the attendance for the first two plays to over 800 and organiser Julian Wilde is expecting another enthusiastic crowd next Tuesday.

“Gilbert and Sullivan performed by Illyria at Lytham Hall has been a real eye-opener in the last four summers. The audiences like the change from the traditional rather formal D’Oyly Carte style of Gilbert and Sullivan. The doubling-up of roles all adds to the humour, but we can look forward to first-class singing, too. The audience in Lytham was especially responsive last July and the cast is really looking forward to their visit.”

Gates will open at 5.30pm for those wanting to picnic before the show which starts at 7.30pm. There is free parking in Lytham Hall grounds close to the arena and the show will finish around 9.45pm.

Those attending are asked to bring their own low-backed seating and suitably warm clothing.

Tickets at £13, with concessions at £10 and £6.50, are on sale on line from Illyria’s own website at www.illyria.uk.com and locally from Lytham Hall phone 01 253 736652: Plackitt and Booth, Booksellers, Lytham 796958: Lowther Pavilion 794221: Stringers Homelife and Main Store, 740700: Bennetts Bakers, Ansdell 736318: Storytellers Inc., St. Annes 781690: Silverdell Books, Kirkham 01772 683444.