All-male G&S on tour hits Brighton

Universally regarded as Sir Arthur Sullivan's most beautiful score, Iolanthe is a topsy-turvy love story between the most unlikely of couples'¦ fairies and members of the House of Lords.

Christopher Finn - courtesy of Nicholas Dawkes
Christopher Finn - courtesy of Nicholas Dawkes

Torches flash in the darkness as a party of naughty school boys venture into the magical surroundings of an old theatre.

Find out what happens next when Sasha Regan’s critically-acclaimed all-male Iolanthe plays the Theatre Royal Brighton from June 19-23.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

Christopher Finn, who plays Iolanthe, is loving being on tour with a show in which he first performed eight years ago.

“I think Sasha’s all-male shows have always been very popular, but Iolanthe is perhaps slightly trickier because not so many people will know the show. But I love the all-male aspect because I think it challenges you. You don’t often get to sing in that style, especially not that kind of pitch. And that’s a good thing.

“We are stripping it of gender. We have got quite a lot of people playing it a lot older than they are and also some playing women, and when you strip it of age and gender, I think it becomes much more simple, more much emotional. You are able to focus much more on the emotions and the relationships rather than the ages and the sex and the politics. You are left with the emotions and with a much more genuine connection. You can do Iolanthe in many ways and many different styles, but this one is about bringing out the youthfulness and the energy of it all.

“I think Iolanthe is the one that is closer to the real world… even though it has got fairies in it. But it is set in an area of the real world. There are references to London and London politics whereas other pieces are set in other places and you know they are talking about London. But to make this one topsy-turvy, you have got the fairies in it!”

Christopher admits that G&S has been edged out a little bit in recent years: “I think for the amateur circuit you are not seeing so much G&S because they are going for a younger market. They assume that people are wanting younger, fresher shows.

“But I think for audiences G&S is a little bit like Shakespeare. You have got to try to tempt people in, and then when you get them in, they love it and they discover that the music is lovely and that the whole thing is still relevant. Iolanthe is basically a romcom that happens in London, a slightly-silly romcom with a lot of high comedy, but people do get a bit scared of G&S. It can be difficult to get people in. Our aim just has got to be to put on a really good show and show them how great G&S are.”

Christopher is looking forward to playing Brighton Theatre Royal for the first time: “I know it is a beautiful, beautiful theatre, but I have never performed there. I have performed in something else at the Pavilion a long time ago, but I love Brighton and it will be great to have a chance to look around.

“It is a nice tour because we get the chance to play places for a week rather than doing one or two nights. It means you can visit all the attractions and enjoy these places. It is a blessing to be going around the UK to great places with a group of people.”