Monday, 14 March 2011

Gilbert's Centenary


With tufts of Victorian facial hair, or what the Germans call cheek-beards, nimble footwork and light tenoring, my friend Kevin celebrates the centenary of the death of the operetta wordsmith William Schwenk Gilbert at the well known theatrical pub, the King’s Head in Islington. He is a D’Oyly Carte veteran and so knows all the traditional steps, which for almost a century it was forbidden to change.

The play, written for the centenary, is a gentle late-night comedy called All at Sixes and Sevens by Timothy Knapman. The other half of the cast of two, ie Sir Arthur Sullivan, is played by pianist and ‘character baritone’ Colin Baldy. The idea is that Gilbert has just arrived in the Hereafter and is enjoying the peace of a deceased gentleman’s club when Sullivan, who has been dead 11 years, arrives to upset it.