Gilbert and Sullivan in Brief(s)

Four performers from New York's famous Queen’s Theatre bring a new production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s in Briefs to the Fringe with mixed results.

The premise of the show is almost like Gilbert & Sullivan meets Saturday Night. Four characters - a pompous Tenor (Matthew Thompson); a ditsy Soprano (Carolann Sanita); a past-her-prime Mezzo (Kate Chapman); an inebriated Baritone (Parker Andrews) - take audiences on a madcap musical race through all 14 of the duo’s operettas, from the well-known - The Pirates of Penzance, HMS Pinafore, The Mikado - to the obscure - Thespis.

It’s wildly entertaining but doesn't give enough of itself to either please the die hard G&S fans or fans of musical theatre. It’s performed at a rapid pace to try and encompass all of the operettas some of which run for more than three hours on their own. That fact alone makes the task of delivering a flavour of all the plays a tough one, but the cast try hard and succeed in getting the audience on their side.

Gilbert and Sullivan, whilst popular, remains something of a niche production choice both for audience and performers alike and with a better mix of the well known G&S shows then this is an idea which will take off and fly. Until then, the current production never quite delivers on the promise but for those who haven't seen or heard G&S performed live before then this is great production for getting a flavour.

Reviews by Brett Herriot

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The Blurb

A madcap race through all 14 operettas. Prepare for pirates, sailors, major generals and gondoliers in this topsy-turvy musical romp! Direct from New York. 'The very model of a modern major hit!' (Washington Post).