Fairies and peers at Leeds Carriageworks show

STAGE IS SET: From left, Joy Suthern (fairy), Phil Case (Strephon), Nicky Burrows (Phyllis) and Emma Young (a water lily).
STAGE IS SET: From left, Joy Suthern (fairy), Phil Case (Strephon), Nicky Burrows (Phyllis) and Emma Young (a water lily).
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Fairies in their Sunday best gossamer wings and lords in ermine robes may be in abundance in the city soon.

For when Leeds Gilbert and Sullivan Society’s latest show, Iolanthe, opens on March 4 with a matinee, members of the audience are invited to take the theme to their hearts and dress as fairies or peers of the realm.

But they could be the only ones in fancy dress, as the cast is updating the production at the city’s Carriageworks theatre and will be appearing in modern-day dress.

The society, which has won the Leeds Civic Arts Guild award for best musical four times running, is staging the boy-meets-girl political satire from March 4 to 10.

It tells the story of would-be-weds Phyllis and Strephon, played by Nicky Burrows and Phil Case, who plan to marry in defiance of the edict of her legal guardian, the Lord Chancellor. But Strephon fails to mention that his mother, Iolanthe, is a youthful looking fairy recently reinstated in Fairyland. When Phyllis sees him with her, jealousy flares and she decides to tie the knot with any dimwitted member of the House of Lords. A battle ensues between the feisty fairies and puffed-up peers.

Musical direction is in the hands of Mike Williams, of Leeds Youth Opera fame, and artistic direction and choreography is by Anita Adams.

“This is a lovely show as it gives so much scope for fun, and we’re updating it slightly to reflect modern politics.

“It’s a particularly good show for the chorus, who get a lot of action, especially when they do battle at the end of act one. We’re lucky to have a hugely energetic cast, who are putting their heart and soul into playing mischievous fairies and pompous lords,” said Anita. “They’re absolutely loving it, and that’s coming across loud and clear.”

Nicky, 23, who has an equine business in Adel, Leeds, is in her first role with Leeds G&S and should delight the audience with her vain but charming Phyllis. An insolvency analyst off stage, Phil, 31, from Morley, has been a member of the society since 2009 and is enjoying his first principal role .

On March 8, West Yorkshire Deputy Lieutenant Gordon Tollefson will attend the show to represent the Queen as part of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

From March 5, performances are at 7.30pm and there will be two shows on March 10, at 2.30pm and 7.30pm.

Tickets are from £6 to £16 with concessions. On Sunday and Monday, all tickets are £12. To book, call the box office on 0113 224 3801.

Callum Douglas

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