Leeds Carriageworks Theatre: Curtain goes up on new operetta

Rehearsing for the Leeds Gilbert and Sullivan Society's The Yeoman of the Guard.

Rehearsing for the Leeds Gilbert and Sullivan Society's The Yeoman of the Guard.

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NEW friendly ‘security guards’ will be in evidence at a Leeds theatre next week.

For the beefeaters are coming to the Carriageworks Theatre in the Gilbert and Sullivan Society’s production of The Yeomen of the Guard.

Set in Tudor times, its story is darker than the duo’s other offerings and is thought by many enthusiasts to contain some of Sullivan’s most exciting music.

Curtain up sees Colonel Fairfax imprisoned in the Tower awaiting a death sentence for alleged sorcery. Yet when the bell tolls, he has escaped.

This complicates things for Elsie Maynard, who only married him blindfolded in order that his fortune would not go to his evil cousin.

His cheating the executioner leaves Elsie, who has never seen her bridegroom, with a dilemma as she is meant to be betrothed to the jester, Jack Point.

Fairfax is missing, so is she a wife or a widow?

The spotlight this year will be on two of the Society’ s up-and-coming performers, Richard Pascoe and Lucy Appleyard who take on the comic leads roles of Wilfred, the hapless jailor and flirty Phoebe, the object of his desire.

Richard, from Headingley, has been a regular on Leeds stages since 1998. He first joined the Society three years ago, playing Florian in Princess Ida and Pooh-Bah in The Mikado.

Lucy and Richard are old friends, she having previously played Mrs Lovett to his Sweeney Todd and Richard having sung in Lucy’s own ensemble, The Owls.

This is the second time that Lucy, from Pudsey, has played Phoebe. She first took the part for the Buxton International festival of Gilbert and Sullivan in 2009.

Artistic director of the production is Anita Adams, while musical direction comes from Mike Williamson.

The Society has won the Leeds Civic Arts Guild award for Best Musical for the past three years and is hoping to make it a record fourth.

Yeomen of the Guard opens with a matinee on Sunday March 13 and runs nightly until Saturday, March 19.

Tickets are £6 to £16. On Sunday March 13 and Monday March 14 all tickets are £10. Call 0113 224 3801 to book.

bruce.a.smith@ypn.co.uk

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