Review: The Gondoliers at The Spring, Havant

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Jan Ravens

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Gilbertian nonsense at its finest, The Gondoliers is Havant Light Opera’s latest offering at The Spring this week.

It’s a pity that a company as long-established as HLO can’t attract more youngsters. As a result there is much inappropriate casting – mostly inappropriate in terms of age rather than ability.

That said, not all of the cast are up to the challenge of Sullivan’s music when it comes to solo-singing. In ensemble they are very powerful indeed.

Bryan Oldaker and Mike Powell are part of the inappropriate-casting syndrome. As the juvenile leads they are clearly too long-in-the-tooth – but are clearly loving it.

They are partnered by Bridget Munday and Irene Kent who are also, clearly, loving it. ‘Amateurs’ in the literal, non-pejorative, meaning of the word.

Singing honours must go to Denise Baugh and Jane Marrett as the Duchess and Casilda whose voices are head-and-shoulders above the rest. Simon Cooksey – as Luiz – shines among the men.

Until Saturday.