Charles Court Opera presents
The complete works of Gilbert & Sullivan – in 75 minutes!
Mon 9 Aug 8pm Main Lawn Stage
All aboard for a murderous musical mystery tour!
The masters of G&S in small spaces” present this brand new, side-splitting spoof of the classic
railway mystery. A trio of intriguing travellers (and a pianist) take on multiple characters, uncover
clue upon red herring, while ripping through the G&S operettas with a cake soaked butter knife,
all aboard the G&S Express. Get ready to be swept away on this Topsy-turvy journey – from
Penzance to Titipu, from Venice to the Tower of London, from Portsmouth to Fairyland – in a
brand new story packed with references from every single G&S operetta. This highly inventive,
witty murder mystery spoof is splattered with favourite songs from the Savoy operas including
‘The Pirates of Penzance’, ‘The Mikado’ and ‘H.M.S. Pinafore’, as well as from those less
performed, such as ‘The Sorcerer,’ ‘Princess Ida’ and ‘Utopia Ltd’.
All aboard the G&S Express – destination: Murder!
Express G&S cast: Matthew Kellett, Catrine Kirkman and Philip Lee.
Devised by John Savournin and David Eaton, with design by Jessie Huckin.
PRESS FOR PREVIOUS CCO PRODUCTIONS
★★★★★ ‘An Irresistible staging’ The Stage
★★★★ ‘Wickedly funny’ The Guardian
★★★★ ‘Exquisite, ingenious’ Evening Standard
★★★★ ‘Extremely well sung’ Time Out Critics’ Choice
‘A sparklingly fresh package of laughs, pathos, foolery and high-class music making’ Opera Now
CHARLES COURT OPERA BIOGRAPHY
Charles Court Opera has been described as one of the leading and most versatile chamber
opera and music theatre companies in the UK. They are considered one of the champions of
the current reinvigoration of Gilbert and Sullivan, described as “the masters of G&S in small
places” and were the 2020 Off-west-end award winners for Best Opera for their production of
Aside from their Gilbert & Sullivan productions, their notorious ‘Boutique Pantos’ have become a
legendary part of London’s Christmas, known for their ‘off-piste’ nature and described by the
Telegraph as “an annual madhouse”.
They are committed to devising new work, education and outreach, have performed across the
UK in venues ranging from pub theatres to concert halls, and toured to the US and Europe.
They have co-produced operas with the Iford Arts Festival as a regular visiting company, and
are proud to be an associate company of The King’s Head Theatre, London. This summer, they
are to co-produce The Pirates of Penzance with Opera Holland Park, and will present Express
G&S – The Complete works of G&S in 75 minutes – at the Pleasance Theatre, London before
embarking on a UK tour of their brand new production of Iolanthe, Express G&S and their
“five-star heaven” 2018 production of The Mikado.
GILBERT & SULLIVAN
G&S refers to the Victorian-era theatrical partnership of the dramatist W. S. Gilbert (1836–1911)
and the composer Arthur Sullivan (1842–1900) and to the works they jointly created. The two
men collaborated on 14 comic operas between 1871 and 1896, of which ‘H.M.S. Pinafore’, ‘The
Pirates of Penzance’ and ‘The Mikado’ are among the best known. Gilbert, who wrote the libretti
for these operas, created fanciful “topsy-turvy” worlds where each absurdity is taken to its logical
conclusion – fairies rub elbows with British Lords, flirting is a capital offence, gondoliers ascend
to the monarchy, and pirates emerge as noblemen who have gone astray. Sullivan, six years
Gilbert’s junior, composed the music, contributing memorable melodies that could convey both
humour and pathos. Their operas enjoyed broad and enduring international success and are still
performed frequently throughout the English-speaking world.Producer Richard D’Oyly Carte
brought Gilbert and Sullivan together and nurtured their collaboration. He built the Savoy
Theatre in 1881 to present their joint works (which came to be known as the Savoy Operas) and
founded the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company, which performed and promoted Gilbert and Sullivan’s works for over a century.
Production artwork included was designed by Alex Jackson
75 minutes, no interval
Friends & Castle Members £22.50
Discounted Theatre and Gardens ticket £36.45
Enter through the Castle Top Gate past the first set of trees then turn right, the Main Lawn sweeps down before you to the Main Lawn Stage carefully positioned so you don’t miss an inch of the captivating view of Hever Castle while you picnic. You are welcome to bring chairs, picnic tables, beanbags, blankets, whatever makes you comfortable without blocking the view of those around you in this uncovered setting. Social distancing measures are in place, you can choose where to sit along as you abide by them. It is the perfect relaxed environment to enjoy our performances with a view!
Do bring umbrellas if necessary, gazebos are not permitted.