The Gondoliers by Gilbert and Sullivan

The Gondoliers by Gilbert and Sullivan     

Forbear! Theatre

Sun 28 May 8pm 

Two Sisters Theatre

‘Everyone loved it, roared with laughter, had a great time, wanted to see it again…it was among the best G&S performances they had ever seen.’

Steven Turnbull, Sir Arthur Sullivan Society on Forbear! Theatre

The Gondoliers is the story of two charming Venetian gondoliers, Giuseppe and Marco, who are informed that due to an identity error when they were young boys, one of them is the heir to the throne of Barataria, but which one? They are delighted with the situation and agree to share the responsibilities of governing their new kingdom until it can be ascertained which of them is which. Matters are complicated when the Duke and Duchess of Plaza Toro reveal that their beautiful daughter, Casilda, was married to the future king as an infant. This is a problem, Giuseppe and Marco are both newly married, and Casilda is in love with her father’s attendant, Luiz… 

Director’s Note

The Gondoliers initially premiered at the Savoy Theatre in 1889 and was one of the most loved of Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic operas, running for 554 performances.  It was written at a time when tensions between Gilbert and Sullivan were re-surfacing, the latter complaining that he was repeatedly having to subordinate his music to the former’s lyrics and was not free to compose in the style he wished.  A compromise was met whereby Sullivan was given time to also write a Grand Opera, Ivanhoe, however, the resulting Savoy Opera, The Gondoliers, features some of Sullivan’s best music.  It is clear to see how Gilbert was also learning to give Sullivan space to really set the mood with his music, providing him with a sung opening that lasts approximately fifteen minutes.

Due to Gilbert wishing to dispense with the hierarchy that occurred in his previous casts, The Gondoliers features an ensemble principal cast, resulting in a narrative arguably not as strong as some of their other works. On the other hand, the brightness of the music and the silliness of the characters marks a change in tone for Gilbert and Sullivan into the truly absurd, and there is much joy to be found in this new direction.  Because of this, as the director in this instance, I do not see it as my duty to delve deeply into character, or even to focus on the clarity of the story, but through musical precision and carefully-thought-out movement (involving some intensive dance sequences) The Gondoliers has become Forbear! Theatre’s most fun and most colourful performance to date.

Forbear! Theatre

Forbear! Theatre, a company dedicated to performing the works of Gilbert and Sullivan, was founded in 2014 and produced its first show, Ruddigore, in 2015. The company began in the Barons Court Theatre, a small, off-West End venue in West London and has since taken five shows to the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festivals in Buxton and Harrogate.

Forbear! also regularly perform at Ettington Park, an outdoor venue near Stratford-Upon-Avon. Artistic Director Rachel Middle, and Musical Director William Remmers are die-hard Gilbert and Sullivan fans and have, in their careers, performed the entire canon themselves. The company prides itself on its attention to detail; studying the text and the music at length and challenging the cast to achieve a high level of physical, vocal and emotional precision. Above all, however, the company seeks to delight audiences with the whimsical magic of Gilbert and Sullivan, recognising that there will always be a place in the world for this particular brand of absurdist escapism.

‘Forbear! Theatre bring to Gilbert and Sullivan a unique youthful freshness combined with sophisticated wit and impressive theatrical and musical professionalism.’

Mike Leigh OBE


Standard Covered Ticket£30.00
Discounted Joint Covered Theatre and Garden Ticket  ADULT£42.25
Discounted Covered Joint Theatre and Garden Ticket  CHILD (under 15)£37.10
Standard Covered Ticket FESTIVAL FRIENDS£27.00
Standard Covered Ticket HEVER CASTLE & GOLF CLUB MEMBERS£27.00
Standard Uncovered Ticket£28.00
Discounted Joint Uncovered Theatre and Garden Ticket  ADULT£40.35
Discounted Uncovered Joint Theatre and Garden Ticket  CHILD (under 15)£35.20
Standard Uncovered Ticket FESTIVAL FRIENDS£25.20
Standard Uncovered Ticket HEVER CASTLE & GOLF CLUB MEMBERS£25.20

Pre-Theatre suppers in the Guthrie Pavilion are available before this performance. 
Here is the menu.
Please book your theatre tickets first, then follow this link to reserve your table.

Bookings start from 6pm, we recommend arriving at least an hour before the performance starts so you don’t have to rush your meal.

PLEASE NOTE: You have made a table reservation only, you may be asked to pre-order by the catering team in advance of the date and all meals and drinks are to be paid for on the night.

Two Sisters’ Theatre

Our main theatre, located on the Two Sisters’ Lawn has allocated, covered seating in the Centre, East and West Tiers. There is additional uncovered seating in the Centre Tier and, available for selected performances lawn areas where you can bring your own seats, beanbags, rugs etc.

The Theatre Bar will be open on the theatre lawn before the show and during the interval for hot and cold, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, ice cream and snacks.

NEW for 2023 – freshly made crêpes. Savoury and sweet options available from the concession by the lake, before evening shows only. Here is the menu.

Please check our access page for further information.