Phyllis (Inge Illman) greets her beloved Strephon (Jonathan Woodward) in the fields in the Gilbert and Sullivan Society's performance of Iolanthe.

Magic & Mortals

The Victoria Gilbert and Sullivan Society performs Iolanthe at the McPherson Playhouse March 28 and 29

Fairies will fly as the Victoria Gilbert and Sullivan Society performs Iolanthe.

One of Gilbert and Sullivan’s most charming operettas, Iolanthe asks what would happen if fairies intervened in our everyday lives?

“The music and stories are timeless,” says Gilbert and Sullivan Society member Adrian Sly, who plays Lord Chancellor.

Adrian became enamoured with Gilbert and Sullivan, best known for The Pirates of Penzance and HMS Pinafore, when he was a boy in England.

“My brother was five years older and he joined the local Gilbert and Sullivan Society at school,” says Adrian. “He was my hero.”

By age 9, Adrian was purchasing Gilbert and Sullivan records and at 14 he followed his brother’s footsteps into performing the classic operas.

“I’ve been doing it ever since … it’s a wonderful ice breaker,” he says. In fact, he credits Gilbert and Sullivan for introducing him to his wife Elizabeth, who is the show’s producer.

“It’s a real team effort,” says Elizabeth, of the more than 30 cast members it takes to pull off the musical production.

“The music is so exciting, it’s a favourite of mine,” she says.

Iolanthe was written in 1882 and pokes fun at English law, the House of Lords and made much of the war between the sexes.

“It’s the same today,” says Adrian. “It’s still relevant, I find that just amazing. … Gilbert was a wonderful wordsmith.”

The talented group of performers is led by Maestro George Corwin who also leads a 13 piece professional orchestra. Exuberant choreography is by Heather-Elaine Day and stage direction by the imaginative Jennifer Hoener.

Iolanthe is on at the McPherson Playhouse March 28 at 8pm and March 29 at 2pm.


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