Gilbert and Sullivan: The Musical

From the first number, it's clear that the cast of Gilbert & Sullivan The Musical are talented. The opening song is very much an homage to the style of original Gilbert & Sullivan’s numbers, and each of the actors artfully manage their quick verses and vying harmonies. The lone keyboardist offers excellent accompaniment and the farcical dance moves performed throughout the songs are hilarious. With every aspect of the show executed so well, about the only thing missing from this musical, really, is a plot.

The show follows the partnership of possibly the most famous musical comedy team of all time. The musical opens with the staging of their first musical, and then proceeds chronologically through each Gilbert and Sullivan show, ending when the two decide they can no longer work together. To signal each new musical, an advertising bulletin appears on an easel at the back of the stage, and we are treated to a song about the new collaboration.

These songs provide an interesting glimpse into the partnership that existed between W.S. Gilbert, Arthur Sullivan and Richard D’Oyly Carte. We learn that Sullivan wished to be a famous composer,and had real trouble working with comedic and frivolous Gilbert. We learn too, about Gilbert's writing process and his life before operettas. Perhaps most tantalizing, however, are the glimpses we get into the personality of Richard D’Oyly Carte, the man who brought Gilbert and Sullivan together and who built the Savoy theater to host their comic operas. According to the songs, D’Oyly Carte had once been in the music business himself and wished Gilbert and Sullivan and D’Oyly Carte would become household names (well... two out of three isn’t bad?).

These songs offer tantalizing glimpses of information, but nothing that really resolves itself firmly into a story. Even though the songs are well written, and deftly performed, this oversight is a definite deficiency in the musical. The total result is that for those who love operatic comedy and wish to know more about its most famous duo, this show will offer a lot. For those who have no interest in either of these subjects, however, there’s unlikely to be any real appeal.

Reviews by Margaret Sessa-Hawkins

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

The Blurb

Come and see G and S as you've never seen it before! This musical brings the story of this famous partnership to life, combining original lyrics with the music of Arthur Sullivan. A must-see for Savoyards everywhere!

Most Popular See More

Come From Away

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

SIX

From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Wicked

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets