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The Jersey Gilbert and Sullivan Society


The programme for the event in Jersey is here

The programme for the event in Sark is here

17-21 May (Jersey) & 13 August 2022 (Sark)

A fully staged production of "The Yeomen of the Guard" was performed at the Great Hall at Highlands College in May 2022. This was reprised in the Sark Community Hall in August 2022. The Producer and Musical Director were Simon Thomas and Annette Blanchet respectively.

The principals were cast as follows:

Sergeant Meryll – Michael Blackie

Phoebe Meryll – Liberty Spears

Leonard Meryll – Richard Joynt

Colonel Fairfax – Joseph Barette

Jack Point – Will Millow

Elsie Maynard – Kelly Watson

Wilfred Shadbolt – Phil Le Claire (Jersey) & Simon Thomas (Sark)

Dame Carruthers – Judy Egre

Kate – Georgina Ford (Jersey) & Kate Rabey (Sark)

Lieutenant - Mark Godel

The show itself received many positive reviews and comments from the audience, such as the following for the Jersey show in May:

"Just a quick note to say I was so impressed with the performance last night. Everyone worked so hard and as a team, with no one hogging the limelight. I don’t know if the hall had some means of amplification or it was just good acoustics but all the voices were so strong and your pianist was magnificent! The costumes were interesting and helped the singers to create the atmosphere and bring the characters to life. A very well produced piece of theatre, which reached a high level, and equalled many a production at the Savoy!    So, many congratulations to all………G and S would have been proud!!!"

"Just wanted to say what a superb performance that you and the cast of G&S Jersey gave; we were in the audience last night (Friday). I thought that the quality of the singing; the facial expressions and the timeliness of the entrances/exits for each piece was perfect. I could tell just how much time you all put into rehearsals. The 2 leading ladies; Phoebe and the one in the yellow dress were top-class; they have such a high range and are a real asset to your Society. The lighting team also did a good job as did Grace on the piano; true professional pianist. Problem we have is there is only one of her in Jersey.  And lastly, yourself and your fellow gents in the chorus did wonderfully, sang boldly and looked the part. This one really enthralled and entertained me from start to finish."

And we got a review in the Guernsey Press for the Sark show in August

“That evening, greeted by two scarlet-clad Beefeaters braving the hothouse conditions, we joined an Island Hall agog for some rollicking entertainment. ‘Yeomen’ is not G&S’s most frequently performed work; strange, as it has some marvellous, memorable tunes; but it is their darkest, with no garland-strewn happy-ever-after to send us out smiling. And while there’s a lot of humour and wordplay along the way, the range of emotions require proper acting from the singers. Happily, this is what they proved more than capable of, despite the bizarre story (too complicated to go into, Wikipedia will provide a superior account). From my scribblings in the dark I noted how good it was to see Gilbert and Sullivan performed by an age-appropriate cast: Phoebe, the sumptuous young Liberty Spears, has a rich soprano packaged in the voluptuous innocence and googoo eyes of a Betty Boop, and is a very fine character actor to boot. Joseph Barette’s Sergeant Fairfax, condemned prisoner, might appear effete, until he opened his mouth and a velvety-supple tenor made clear why he was the love interest. Every word crystal-clear, and somehow gave sincerity to the ludicrous plot. Actually this was true of all the actor-singers. Elsie the strolling singer had a purity and operatic heft of voice that pierced the muggy air and carried to the back of the packed Hall. From Head Jailer and ‘Assistant Tormentor’ (Simon Thomas), the Tower Housekeeper (Judith Egre); her niece, Guernsey’s own Kate Rabey; the various military men – Mark Godel and Michael Blackie were both most impressive – there was a consistent pitch-perfect high standard, musically and dramatically, that I felt could have held its own against the D’Oyly Carte. The one individual I must single out especially was William Millow for his Jack Point, strolling jester and aspirant suitor of Elsie. A remarkable sense of comic timing made his hideously unfunny ‘jokes’ a hoot at his expense (‘they don’t blame you as long as you’re funny’). His wistful yearning after Elsie made him both touching and irritating (I’m sure we all know people like that!) – and entirely believable; so that his cruelly dashed hopes at the end left me feeling aghast . It was genuine tragedy, all the more shocking for the silly-ass antics earlier. If for nothing else, the entire cast deserve medals for participating in this demanding frolic for several hours in temperatures that must have exceeded 30C – clad in full-length velvet, silk and clammy satin - while not losing their senses of humour. Most heroic of all, perhaps, was the pianist, in a wonderful Thirties turban (more heat!) making up for an entire orchestra while keeping perfectly in synch with the cast. I was reminded of Ginger Rogers’ apocryphal remark, “Sure (Fred Astaire) was great, but don't forget that I did everything he did, ...backwards and in high heels." Chapeau to Simon Thomas, who managed to combine his Tormenting with Directing this utterly beguiling performance.” Julia Meredith 17th August

The performance in the Great Hall at Highlands College in May 2022

The performance in the Sark’s Island Hall in Ausust 2022