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Yeomen Cast

Synopsis

History

 


YEOMEN 2003 CAST

Sir Richard Cholmondley (Lieutenant of the Tower) IAN FERGUSON
Colonel Fairfax
(under sentence of death) BRIAN BRADBURY
Sergeant Meryll (of the Yeomen of the Guard) BOB PEARSON
Leonard Meryll (his son) GLENN PANTER
Jack Point (a Strolling Jester) PETER ASTILL
Wilfred Shadbolt (Head Jailer & Assistant Tormentor) VICTOR CLARKE

Elsie Maynard (a Strolling Singer) LYNDA SMART
Phoebe Meryll (Sergeant Meryll's Daughter) CAROLYN CARVELL
Dame Carruthers (Housekeeper to the Tower) LAURA GREGORY
Kate (her Niece) JANE HILLYARD

The Headsman DAVID GREEN/GORDON STANSBIE
First Yeoman GLENN PANTER
Second Yeoman RALPH FOGGIN
First Citizen DAVID STAPLETON
Second Citizen RICHARD HOPWOOD

 

YEOMEN 2003 CHORUS
Rachael Armstrong, Jill Chaney, Andrea Clarke, Carole Gill, Zena Grady, Jo Hayes, Susan Knox, Lisa Rosewarne, Lissa Stewart, Jacquie Thornber, Betty Whalley, Alex Wood, Martin Broomhead, Don Jones, Fred Rowe, Alan Stewart, John Toombs, John Wilson


 

PRODUCTION TEAM

Director - Peter James Robinson
Musical Director - Debbie Lee

 

THE STORY OF THE YEOMEN OF THE GUARD 2003

ACT 1
We discover Phoebe who is distraught in that Colonel Fairfax a handsome and valiant Soldier is held in the Tower under sentence of death, on a charge of sorcery brought against him by a malicious cousin, who, if Fairfax dies unmarried, will be his heir. Fairfax plans to thwart his cousin by marrying any girl willing to go through a ceremony of marriage with a man about to die.

Fairfax persuades his old friend the Lieutenant of the Tower to help him in this. Jack Point, a strolling jester and his girl Elsie Maynard happen to come to the Tower and Elsie agrees to be Fairfax's Wife for 100 crowns. There is a hasty marriage.

Elsie returns to Jack Point who is in love with Elsie although she is unable to return his feelings. Sergeant Meryll whose life Fairfax saved in battle, arranges for Fairfax to escape by impersonating his son Leonard who in any event has come to join the Yeomen. Phoebe obtains the keys of the cell from Wilfred Shadbolt (who constantly woos Phoebe) as she is secretly in love with Fairfax.

All is prepared for the execution of Fairfax when it is announced that he has escaped. The first act ends amid general confusion but with the overpowering realisation by Elsie that she is still a Wife when she had by now expected to be a widow.

ACT 2
The Act opens with Dame Carruthers castigating the Yeomen for failing to guard the Prisoner. Jack Point and Wilfred are sad and out of fortune, the former because he has lost his girl and the latter his position as Head Jailer. They hatch a plan to their mutual advantage.

Wilfred is to fire his gun and tell everyone that he has killed Fairfax whose body has sunk into the river. This would make Elsie a widow and she would be free to marry Jack Point and enable Wilfred to be back in favour with the Lieutenant. Fairfax meanwhile continues to serve as a Yeoman (albeit under the guise of Leonard Meryll) and is delighted to discover that Elsie is the unknown person he married.

The climax is reached when the real Leonard Meryll arrives with a belated pardon for Fairfax who can therefore reveal his real name and claim Elsie as the girl he married. In order to cover up their connivance Sergeant Meryll agrees to marry Dame Carruthers and Phoebe agrees to marry Wilfred. But what becomes of Jack Point?

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HISTORY OF THE YEOMEN OF THE GUARD 2003

In 1888 "Ruddigore" was running at the Savoy Theatre and it was not enjoying much success. Richard D'Oyly Carte asked Gilbert to provide a Libretto for a new Opera. Whilst waiting for a train on Uxbridge station, Gilbert noticed a poster for the Tower Furnishing Co. which depicted The Tower of London and a Yeomen Warder. This gave Gilbert the idea for an opera set around people living in the Tower.

The Opera was originally called "The Tower of London" The Opera is very different from the rest of the G & S canon. It is more serious than Gilbert's previous plots having a tragic story of un-requited love, together with several other stories of a comic nature.

The characters are more believable than in previous operas. The tragi-comic Jack Point has been likened to Gilbert himself, with his ability to hide unpalatable truths behind his nonsense; Phoebe is a woman prepared to risk her life to save Fairfax from execution; Elsie is a Wife faithful to a husband she has never seen; Dame Carruthers is the wise woman of the story; Wilfred Shadbolt is a parody of the Victorian melodramatic villain. Finally, Sir Richard, The Lieutenant, really did exist with that name and in that role.

Sullivan, who had always wanted to write a Grand Opera, was also very excited by Gilbert's work and produced some of his finest melodies in setting the words to music. Sullivan was unable to find a tune for the song "I have a song to sing 0" and on mentioning this to Gilbert, Gilbert hummed the tune he had in mind when he wrote the words and that became the tune that Sullivan wrote. The only occasion in the Gilbert and Sullivan Operas where Gilbert provided both words & music.

"The Yeomen of the Guard" opened on October 3rd 1888 and achieved a run of 423 performances.

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